Berning down the house; or, the Democrats’ Trump card

So you think the Republican Party has problems with its presidential candidate? (Yes, it does.)

James Taranto reports …

“Thrown chairs. Leaked cellphone numbers. Death threats spewed across the Internet. No, this is not the work of Donald J. Trump supporters . . .” That’s the arresting, not to say biased, lead of a New York Times story on the Democrats—specifically, Saturday’s Nevada Democratic convention, where “angry supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders . . . were directing their ire” at what they see as “a rigged political system”:

Although Hillary Clinton won the Nevada caucuses in February, the Sanders campaign worked hard to win delegates at county conventions and was hopeful that it could emerge from the state with an equal number of delegates or more. But the state convention, held at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel, deteriorated into chaos after nearly 60 of Mr. Sanders’s potential delegates were deemed ineligible amid a dispute over the rules. The convention concluded abruptly after security staff no longer felt it could ensure the safety of the participants, many of whom were yelling and throwing things.

Though the raucous Republican nominating fight was the one that appeared to be careering toward a contested convention, the drawn-out fight on the Democratic side has emerged as an ugly intraparty feud in its own right, threatening hopes for unity ahead of the July convention in Philadelphia. Mr. Sanders faces a virtually insurmountable delegate deficit, but has pledged to carry on his campaign despite the long odds. …

“What Nevada shows is the kindling is there,” Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist, said of the energy within Mr. Sanders’s base of support. “The question is, what is he going to do with it?”

Hasn’t he been answering that question for months with “feel the burn”? Journalists across the country are feeling it now, as the Los Angeles Times demonstrates: “Will the fire that Sanders has lighted among millions of supporters with his critiques of Wall Street greed and political corruption burn the party this summer?”

Democrats are now forcing Sanders to disavow violence, as The Wall Street Journal reports:

After the convention, the Nevada Democratic Party took the unusual step of filing a complaint about Mr. Sanders and his supporters with the Democratic National Committee, the national arm of the party. In the letter sent Monday, Nevada Democrats said Mr. Sanders’s supporters had a “penchant” for violence and disruption, warning that the party’s national convention in Philadelphia this summer could see similar actions.

Mr. Sanders responded in his Tuesday statement that claims of a penchant for violence were “nonsense.” He added: “Our campaign of course believes in nonviolent change and it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals.”

“It goes without saying” is a curious phrase, because it inevitably means its opposite. You never see a sentence that ends “it goes without saying.”

Talking Points Memo reports that the DNC’s chairman, the unwieldily named Debbie Wasserman Schultz, isn’t ready to make up with Sanders: “Unfortunately, the senator’s response was anything but acceptable,” she said on CNN. “It certainly did not condemn his supporters for acting violently or engaging in intimidation tactics and instead added more fuel to the fire.” Bern, baby, burn.

This is all a bit surprising given Hillary Clinton’s inevitability. As the Times notes, “the raucous Republican nominating fight was the one that appeared to be careering toward a contested convention.” Instead the last of Donald Trump’s rivals left the race two weeks ago, while Sanders soldiers on.

[Tuesday] the Democrats held primaries in Oregon and Kentucky; Sanders easily won the Beaver State, while Mrs. Clinton edged him by fewer than 2,000 votes in the Bluegrass State. “Wounded Hillary Limps to Kentucky Win,” reads a Daily Beast headline. A CNN.com section header: “[Mrs.] Clinton finally wins a state.”

Another CNN story reports on Sanders’s election-night rally:

Speaking in Southern California Tuesday night, Sanders fired up the crowd by calling out the Democratic leadership.

“The Democratic Party is going to have to make a very, very, profound and important decision. It can do the right thing and open its doors and welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change. That is the Democratic Party I want to see,” Sanders said.

“I say to the leadership of the Democratic Party: Open the doors, let the people in! Or the other option for the Democratic Party, which I see as a very sad and tragic option is to choose and maintain its status quo structure, remain dependent on big money campaign contributions and be a party with limited participation and limited energy,” he said.

The crowd responded by chanting, “Bernie or Bust!” the equivalent of the Republican #NeverTrump slogan for the Democratic race.

That seems to us a dubious equivalence. The Bernie-or-busters are enthusiastically (if sometimes violently) for a candidate, whereas the Nevertrumpkins are against one. If anything, the more persuasive parallel is between Sanders and Trump (and their supporters): Not only are both challenging their parties’ establishments, but neither has a history of identifying with the party whose nomination he now seeks.

For that reason, if Comrade Sanders were honest in running for president, he should bolt the Democratic Party (to which he does not belong; he was an independent in the House of Representatives and is an independent in the Senate) and run a third-party campaign. (Trump should have done that from the beginning.) The fix has been in from the beginning, and it’s obvious to everyone except perhaps Sanders.

About which, The Blaze reports:

MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski called for the Democratic National Committee’s chairwoman, Florida Rep. Debbie Wassserman Schultz, to resign Wednesday, citing unfair treatment of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Democratic presidential campaign.

Brzezinski’s criticism of Wassserman Schultz began after the morning show played a clip of the chairwoman slamming Sanders’ handling of recent violence in Nevada during a Tuesday MSNBC interview.

Wasserman Schultz took issue with a statement Sanders issued after his supporters were accused of resorting to violence at the chaotic Nevada Democratic convention over the weekend, during which property was vandalized and certain members of the local party received death threats.

“Our campaign of course believes in non-violent change and it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals,” Sanders said in a lengthy statement Tuesday.

In his statement, Sanders also decried Democratic leadership for using “its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place” at the Nevada convention.

However, Wasserman Schultz argued that, because Sanders’ statement addressed more than just what occurred in Nevada over the weekend, the senator in a way actually “excused” his supporters’ violent acts.

But a visibly frustrated Brzezinski wasn’t having it: “This has been very poorly handled from the start. It has been unfair, and they haven’t taken him seriously, and it starts, quite frankly, with the person we just heard speaking.”

Co-host Joe Scarborough also defended Sanders, saying the Vermonter “very clearly said” violence is not acceptable.

“Can I ask, why would Bernie Sanders politely get in line for the Democratic Party?” Scarborough said of the demands being placed on the Sanders campaign.

Brzezinski replied, “Because Hillary Clinton’s people said so.”

Scarborough responded, “I sure as hell wouldn’t if the party I was a member of treated me like this, rigged the debate process, rigged Iowa, rigged the entire thing going forward. I’d say go straight to hell; I’m running as an independent.”

The question on which the presidential election might hang is how many Sanders voters will vote for Hillary, and how many non-Trump Republican voters will vote for Trump, who did not get a majority of votes (as opposed to delegates) in the primaries to this point. I will be voting for neither Trump nor Hillary; I think a lot of Sanders voters, many of whom claim to be new to politics, won’t be voting for Hillary.

 

 

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