Clinton’s figured out how to ensure her victory: Threaten Sanders that if he doesn’t endorse her, pronto, she’ll begin campaigning as a triangulator.
The risk is that [Sanders] will lose his moment because some Clinton partisans already see a more centrist campaign as the best way to win over millions of middle-of-the-road voters who find Trump abhorrent. Sanders has to decide if accelerating his plans to endorse Clinton is now the best way to maximize progressive influence.
— Sanders is making his long goodbye count, E.J. Dionne, Washington Post, today
So there it is. The moment that Sanders endorses Clinton, Clinton will conclude that a more centrist campaign is the best way to win over millions of middle-of-the-road voters who find Trump abhorrent. Because there are just so very many middle-of-the-road voters who find Trump abhorrent but find the idea of a Medicare-for-all-type healthcare system, a $15/hr. minimum wage, tuition-free public colleges and universities, and compelled reduction in the size and consequent economic and political power of a few mega-banks even more abhorrent.
Throw in sizable tax increases on the wealthy, and the abhorrence of this platform as compared with a Trump presidency shoots off the charts. At least if you’re a Clinton partisan—Bill Daley, for example, who’s a Democrat only by convenience—and your Wall Street career depended initially upon your family contacts and later upon your Clinton ones. Or you’ve made your Wall Street fortune the new-fashioned way: private equity.
The very definition of middle-of-the-road, in other words. Just not the definition of middle-class. Or working-class. Unless your work is parlaying your money into ever greater political power in order to ensure a continued inflow of huge amounts of money.
In any event we have it now from the horse’s mouth—someone in Clinton’s inner circle. The risk is that Sanders will lose his moment because some Clinton partisans already see a more centrist campaign as the best way to win over middle-of-the-road voters with millions of dollars who find Trump abhorrent.
Too late, Bernie. You missed your moment. You can now withhold not only your endorsement but also your mailing list of three million donors, none of them middle-of-the-road ones.
And some of those three million donors and the many millions more who voted for you, being deemed not as important as the middle-of-the-road voters who hate the idea of a Medicare-for-all-type healthcare system, a $15/hr. minimum wage, tuition-free public colleges and universities, and compelled reduction in the size and consequent economic and political power of a few mega-banks, even more than they hate Trump, may find themselves hating Clinton even more than they hate Trump. And every bit as much as those millions of middle-of-the-road voters hate a progressive policy platform. Which is even more than they hate Trump.
What prompted this threat, presumably, was Sanders’ response in an interview with Jake Tapper on Tuesday, when asked what he thought it would take for Clinton to win over his supporters. “We are trying to say to Secretary Clinton and the Clinton campaign, ‘Make it clear which side you are on,’” he said. The punditry is up in arms about that.
I myself thought it was a bit harsh, when I read about it on Tuesday. But Sanders’ instincts were right, apparently.
If the risk to Sanders is that he will lose his moment because some Clinton partisans already see a more centrist campaign as the best way to win over millions of middle-of-the-road voters who find Trump abhorrent, then his moment wasn’t worth much. The Clinton partisans who claim to see a more centrist campaign as the best way to win over millions of middle-of-the-road voters actually likely just see a victorious Clinton, given who her opponent is, and want to make sure a new Clinton administration is a triangulating one, just like the original.
But if they really believe that a more centrist campaign is the best way to win this election, it’s that their tunnel vision is misleading them about who millions of middle-of-the-road voters actually are. The millions who don’t work in the financial services industry, aren’t major Clinton donors, and aren’t professional centrists.
Well, this does solve the mystery of the Clinton campaign’s odd choice of ad themes, anyway. But this candidate should wonder no further why so very many people don’t like her and so many don’t trust her. That this didn’t occur to her before she allowed her campaign to use a progressive columnist to put out that particular threat is just par for this candidate’s and this campaign team’s course.
Announcing to Sanders’s supporters that she’ll go Triangulation if he asks her again to make it clear which side she’s on rather than just endorsing her has served, it appears, to make it clear which side she’s on.
Just as I was beginning to feel okay with this candidate, she pulled the rug out from under me and, probably, from a slew of others who will hear about that threat.
Of course, she needn’t worry, given all those millions of centrist voters who hate the thought of Medicare-for-all, tuition-free public colleges and universities, reducing the size and influence of the mega-banks, and the like, even more than they hate Donald Trump.
So it will all work out well for her campaign in the end.
Just to be clear: I know better than to not vote or to vote for the professional grifter. I’ll vote for her. And I expect to see this reward: a very progressive Dem-controlled Congress that will put progressive legislation on Clinton’s desk for her to sign.