I saved this for a Friday so you have the whole weekend to watch Bernie addressing a high school class 2003. It’s an hour.
Steve: “I wish I had seen it before the 2016 primaries. I wish millions of us had seen it. Hillary might still have been our candidate, but some of the candidates who lost winnable elections might have run better campaigns, and we would have won big instead of losing big. Progress, not disaster. . . . I’d love to see him make a high school video again in 2018. I’d love to see progressives in every state do it, in majority white working class school districts as well as in big cities, and in community college classrooms and college classrooms too. . . . I think such videos are powerful because they’re about our kids as they near voting age. We all love them, we all want what’s best for them, and we all know they are our future. We all love our country, and, in the end, most of us want to get along If more such videos were made, many would go viral, mainstream media would cover them, and mainstream media narratives would change. After all, on most issues, progressive positions have majority support, and the mainstream media — journalists, editors, and even publishers and owners — know this. Many of us know it. If more of us acted on what we know, cynicism would decline. Democrats would nominate more progressives, turnout would rise, small donations would more often beat big ones, and more and more Democrats and independents, at every level, would win. Maybe we’d take back the Congress next year, and a lot of state governments too, and undo some of the harm Trump and the GOP has caused. We’d win the presidency and the Congress in 2020. After that, if we stayed together and didn’t overreach, we’d win again and again. Little by little our country would heal. We’d enter a new era. And if enough of us still believe in American democracy we can enter it soon.”
☞ I love the sentiment, and we should for sure try — though it’s not clear to me that thoughtful videos do have the power to go viral. Bernie’s high school Q&A has scored barely 200,000 hits. This one has scored nearly 3 billion.
Whichever candidate you favored in 2016 — even Trump — I think Bernie’s video may resonate with you.
I was neutral. Though I privately believed Hillary would likely have made more progress, as president, toward the goals both she and Bernie shared — which was almost all of them — I’d have done all I could to vault Bernie into the Oval Office, had he won the primary.
Ellie: “If the Democrats, especially the DNC, had run a clean game, Bernie would have crushed Hillary. I will never forgive them for that, and I blame them for all the horrors that have followed, as Bernie would have crushed Trump also.”
☞ The DNC had nothing to do with the READY FOR HILLARY movement that gave her a 2-year head start — we sure didn’t prevent Bernie from doing the same. A two-year head start, with millions of dollars and millions of names is hard to overcome. As is a sense of inevitability, which as the primaries began was widespread.
When the nascent field was Clinton, Webb, O’Malley, Sanders, and Chaffee, I think most democrats were mainly focused on holding the White House and — thrillingly, to some — electing the first woman president (who, by the way, was the most qualified nominee of ANY gender ever to run for the office, even including Bernie).
So the DNC chair at the outset of the process wanted to do everything appropriately — and sought input from all her predecessors — but was not focused on helping Chaffee or Webb or O’Malley or Sanders tear down our all-but-inevitable candidate or use up Democratic resources that could be used to hold the White House and perhaps take back Congress, I think these things were in her mind.
Most of the specific charges against the DNC on the Bernie/Hillary score are either just wrong or exaggerated. I’ve run thru a few of them in months past. For more on that, please take a look.
I’m not saying that, with the benefit of hindsight, every single decision was ideal. But in the context of the time at which it was made — early on, when Hillary seemed inevitable; or at the end, after she had in fact sewn it up but Bernie kept going in hopes the superdelegates would override the popular vote — I think there was just much less to fault than many of my fellow Bernie fans believe. (It is possible to be both a Hillary and a Bernie fan — I am living proof.)
One particularly sad example of that was revealed in the WikiLeaks, when the DNC CFO — a wonderful guy who had devoted 20 years to the cause, as solid and well-meaning as they come — was caught in a private email having suggested the press ask Bernie about his religious beliefs. Terrible out of context (and not fantastic in context), but the context matters: Hillary had won (unless superdelegates chose to override the popular vote, which was simply not going to happen); yet Bernie was continuing to campaign and suck in tens of millions of tremendously-well-intentioned Democratic dollars that could serve only to weaken Hillary’s chances against the Republican, and weaken the sense of unity we’d need to win (which Bernie later worked admirably to promote).
In that context, charged with trying to build the DNC war chest so we could win, the CFO and others were frustrated. So in a private email (that was, properly ignored), he tossed out a bad, idea.
I’m not justifying it, but it had zero impact on Bernie’s campaign — and cost him his career (and the DNC, a key team member with institutional memory no one else had).
Had he made that suggestion in the thick of things, when Bernie clearly had a chance, it would have an attempt to put a thumb on the scale. But that’s not when it happened. It happened when Bernie — who had lost — was, unintentionally, I’m sure — hurting our chances of holding the White House.
So timing and context matter.
Finally, Ellie asserts Bernie would have beaten Trump. I sure as heck would have tried to help him. And it’s easy just to state that — how could anyone not beat Trump? Yet the one talent Trump does seem to have, other than bankrupting businesses at no cost to himself, is destroying opponents. And in attempting to distort Bernie’s terrific qualities and qualifications, he would likely have had even more support from the business community, who would have perceived him as more of a threat than Hillary.
I truly don’t know whether Bernie would have won, but I am skeptical of those who feel they DO know.
Anyway, that’s my two cents. Watch the video. We’re all on the same team, wanting much the same things, as Steve says. We need to come together whenever possible. If we do, we may right the ship after all.
Happy Bastille Day. Vive la France.
Quote of the Day
When it comes to banking and money, the four most dangerous words in the world are, 'This time, it's different.'~Allan Sloan, Newsweek, March 13, 1995, on repeal of Glass-Steagall
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