Friday, June 17, 2016

Last Call For Influence Peddling

I'm with Matt Yglesias on Bernie's speech Thursday: Bernie Sanders has specifically run against the party of Obama/Clinton and it's pissed people off in profound ways.

It’s one thing to disagree with people about policy substance or political tactics. But something Sanders has done throughout his campaign and very pointedly did here is straightforwardly challenge the good faith of the vast majority of his colleagues in Democratic Party politics. It’s worked pretty well for him on the stump, but it doesn’t win you a lot of friends. And to be honest, it’s simply wrong — you can raise a lot of objections to Obama’s approach to Wall Street or climate change, but the fact is that the financial services industry and the fossil fuel industries have been fighting him every step of the way. 
This is important to understanding why, at the end of the day, Sanders got so very little institutional support for his campaign despite a very long career in Congress that’s involved a lot of working constructively with other members and left-wing interest groups. 
Even labor unions and progressive members of Congress who share important aspects of Sanders’s worldview have also been there in the trenches and seen these things happen. They’ve fought to get the Labor Department fiduciary rule enacted,fought for net neutrality, fought to raise taxes on the rich in 2009 and again in 2013, and fought to expand Medicaid
A lot of the people who’ve fought for those things agree with Sanders that they didn’t go far enough in important ways, or even that key people in the party didn’t push hard enough or strong enough for them. But a lot of Sanders’s rhetoric seems to simply erase these battles, as if the whole party were just sitting on its hands until Bernie and his political revolution came to town.

Bernie Sanders, and increasingly over the last 12 months, his followers, have treated the Democratic party not as something that can be improved and reformed, but as something that must be destroyed as the enemy. And in the process of that erasure, Sanders has erased Democratic voters of color most of all. Obama's strongest supporters are seen as the most misguided, most corrupt, and least worthy among Sanders and his followers of conversion to Saint Bernard's teachings.

It's bad enough as a black voter that I hear "Why are you still on the Obama plantation" from the right, but getting it from the left as well is just pissing me off.

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