It’s difficult to engage with today’s New York Times story about the Democratic establishment’s attempts to stop Bernie Sanders without my blood boiling over.
Our scene opens with an official striking fear of a Sanders nomination to the unbeating hearts of liberal donors:
WASHINGTON — When Leah Daughtry, a former Democratic Party official, addressed a closed-door gathering of about 100 wealthy liberal donors in San Francisco last month, all it took was a review of the 2020 primary rules to throw a scare in them.
Democrats are likely to go into their convention next summer without having settled on a presidential nominee, said Ms. Daughtry, who ran her party’s conventions in 2008 and 2016, the last two times the nomination was contested. And Senator Bernie Sanders is well positioned to be one of the last candidates standing, she noted.
You can almost feel the terror. How will wealthy donors and their allies in the halls of power derail a candidacy they did everything they could to hobble the last time around—when their betrothed was supposed to win it all—when it’s proving even more popular as the 2020 primary heats up?
Then come the worst two paragraphs I’ve read all week, so far (emphasis mine throughout):
From canapé-filled fund-raisers on the coasts to the cloakrooms of Washington, mainstream Democrats are increasingly worried that their effort to defeat President Trump in 2020 could be complicated by Mr. Sanders, in a political scenario all too reminiscent of how Mr. Trump himself seized the Republican nomination in 2016.
How, some Democrats are beginning to ask, do they thwart a 70-something candidate from outside the party structure who is immune to intimidation or incentive and wields support from an unwavering base, without simply reinforcing his “the establishment is out to get me’’ message — the same grievance Mr. Trump used to great effect?
So let me get this straight: Sanders, who’s running a very real, and so far quite effective, presidential campaign, could “complicate” the effort to defeat Trump if he ends up being the nominee. I reject any notion that Sanders doesn’t have a real shot against Trump in a general election—and maintain that he would’ve been a far stronger candidate against Trump in 2016 than Hillary Clinton, the establishment incarnate. I also deeply, to my bones, resent the idea that Sanders’ immunity “to intimidation of incentive” and his “unwavering base” are anything resembling a liability. These are things I want in my candidate, especially when I want them to win!!
The story continues:
But stopping Mr. Sanders, or at least preventing a contentious convention, could prove difficult for Democrats.
I’m becoming apoplectic. The word “Democrats” here is used interchangeably with “Democratic elites,” a grave error that captures everything that’s wrong with the way we win elections. If Democratic voters—and those who are undecided, and even those who watch Fox News—are supporting Bernie’s vision of a different way of doing politics, there’s no reason in hell for these people to “stop” Sanders, unless they desperately want to lose again.
But they don’t have the self-awareness to know that they’d be steering themselves into a brick wall. They just don’t want the guy who challenged Clinton to go the distance. Oh look, let’s hear from hired Clinton gun David Brock! Emphasis mine throughout:
That prospect is not only spooking establishment-aligned Democrats, but it is also creating tensions about what, if anything, should be done to halt Mr. Sanders.
Some in the party still harbor anger over the 2016 race, when he ran against Hillary Clinton, and his ongoing resistance to becoming a Democrat. But his critics are chiefly motivated by a fear that nominating an avowed socialist would all but ensure Mr. Trump a second term.
“There’s a growing realization that Sanders could end up winning this thing, or certainly that he stays in so long that he damages the actual winner,” said David Brock, the liberal organizer, who said he has had discussions with other operatives about an anti-Sanders campaign and believes it should commence “sooner rather than later.”
Wow, Bernie could win this thing, it’s dawning on craven careerists like Brock, so he must be stopped at all costs, especially if voters actually support him!
Good lord, my blood pressure is elevated, and there the guy who spent at least $1 million fighting “Bernie bros” online appears yet again:
Mr. Brock, who supported Mrs. Clinton’s past presidential bids, said “the Bernie question comes up in every fund-raising meeting I do.” Steven Rattner, a major Democratic Party donor, said the topic is discussed “endlessly” in his orbit, and among Democratic leaders it is becoming hard to block out.
And then we have a murderer’s row of people who are also strongly invested in stopping Bernie, even if that means subverting the will of the people:
The matter of What To Do About Bernie and the larger imperative of party unity has, for example, hovered over a series of previously undisclosed Democratic dinners in New York and Washington organized by the longtime party financier Bernard Schwartz. The gatherings have included scores from the moderate or center-left wing of the party, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader; former Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., himself a presidential candidate; and the president of the Center for American Progress, Neera Tanden.
“He did us a disservice in the last election,” said Mr. Schwartz, a longtime Clinton supporter who said he will support former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in this primary.
First of all: fuuuuuuck you. Sanders did the ceremonial thing at the convention, he hit the trail for Clinton, he did what was asked of him. I’m spent. I want nothing from these people; in fact, I’d prefer they retire from politics entirely for their role in losing what was arguably the most winnable presidential election in modern history. Neera Tanden might punch me in the chest for saying this, but that’s OK!
It’s insanely telling that the people featured in this story—who call themselves “progressives,” despite being wedded to deeply middle-of-the-road centrist policies—are so threatened by a candidate who, after being screwed by them in 2016, isn’t inclined to make concessions to the vast, useless apparatus of consultants and donors that they represent. Of course they want to stop Sanders. He’s sworn off big money, has actual progressive policy ideas, and is thumbing his nose at scolds like Tanden and her cronies! If the voters choose Bernie, he should be the nominee. End of story. If you’re the kind of person who would tack a “but,” onto the end of that sentence, you’re probably more wedded to rewriting the perceived wrongs of 2016 than actually taking back the White House in 2020.