Thursday, April 07, 2016

Qualified Support

EITHER Bernie or Hillary are FAR more qualified than Trump, Cruz, Kasich, or whoever else the Republicans pull out of a hat on the 13th ballot.

Let's all remember this, because it's looking more and more likely that the local activists are going to have to do the heavy lifting of post-primary patching things up and uniting behind the nominee - which math says is almost certainly Hillary.

Because the campaigns, and the Sanders campaign in particular, aren't helping things much.

There's two big problems with the "not qualified" remarks. Most obviously, it's a hard remark to walk back because it's too plausibly, too obviously, what the man actually thinks.

Part of Sanders' appeal is that he is incapable of bullshit. But bullshit is unfortunately a necessary political skill. He needs to walk it back, and he clearly knows he went a step too far. But he has no idea HOW to walk it back, and if he TRIES to walk it back, he looks like a fraud and damages his own image.

The other problem comes about in the unlikely but theoretically possible scenario where Sanders wins. He will need Hillary's supporters as much as she would need his. But he's just delivered a face slap to which he's completely oblivious.

In the mind of Sanders, ideology and issues are all. So when he says "unqualified," he believes he is talking about Iraq and campaign finance and banks.

As much as I hate to call something a "trigger," UNQUALIFIED is just that. It conjures up every openly sexist (Trump) or clueless (Sanders) boss who ever denied a woman with a better resume a promotion, and that's nails on chalkboard to female voters. You just want to tell Bernie, "dude, are you listening to yourself?"

So Sanders has basically just told his supporters not to vote for Hillary if she's nominated.
I'm a hopeful person, and I want to think that most of Bernie's supporters are reasonable people who simply like him better on issues. That's been my experience for the most part in my corner of the world. There is definitely a cult of personality, but I like to hope that it's noisy out of proportion to its real numbers the way the Ron Paul cult was. (For the record, I still hate the phrase "feel the Bern." And "the Bronx is Berning" and "Mississippi Berning" were also tone deaf.)

So if we locals keep the channels open, we can keep things together. The continuing national contest and a divisive local primary will delay this. But by fall, almost all Sanders supporters will readily acknowledge that Hillary is a far better option than Trump or Cruz.

Sanders talks at length, every speech, about building a movement. And he's succeeded far beyond what anyone expected, with long range implications for our politics. Not to sound patronizing. But I'm confident that Sanders' supporters will in the end be wiser than the man himself.

1 comment:

Rod Sullivan said...

This sounds like Ralph Nader 2.0. It sucks that Gore was not the President. But is that Nader's fault or Gore's? Throw one progressive bone to the base, and Gore is President.