*** SUPPORT HILLARY CLINTON ***
Today’s Hillary News & Views begins with coverage of last night’s primaries, where Clinton won Kentucky and beat her delegate targets in both Kentucky and Oregon.
She blew past that target, and now only 89 delegates remain until Hillary Clinton becomes the first female nominee of a major presidential party. We’ve known this was almost guaranteed to happen since Nevada and South Carolina, but something about being this close makes it feel so much more real!
Hillary is now less than 100 delegates away from making history as first woman nominee of a major party. #ImWithHer pic.twitter.com/R7mG5cqlgO— Seth Bringman (@sethbringman) May 18, 2016
But regarding enthusiasm: I have it. A lot of it. As do many other Clinton supporters I know in person and online.
I am enthusiastic about seeing the first woman elected to the highest office in the country. I am enthusiastic about issues that affect women being put at the forefront of a national campaign. I am enthusiastic about a woman with Clinton's intelligence, experience, fortitude, empathy, and kindness having the chance to use those traits to the benefit of all of us, to continue the amazing progressive changes we have seen under President Barack Obama, and to introduce ideas and create accomplishments all her own.
I am enthusiastic about knowing that young girls will open a history textbook soon and see someone in the gallery of presidential portraits who looks more like them, and whose image tells them they can do great things, too, and whose smile encourages them to believe in themselves enough to try.
I am enthusiastic about witnessing something that could not have come about without feminism, and while I harbor no illusions that President Hillary Clinton will usher in a "post-feminist" society, I do strongly believe that she will inspire more people—and not just women—to care about feminism and align themselves with the ideals therein.
I am enthusiastic about, finally!, a female president, and more specifically about that female president being Clinton. It is not simply the vague idea I am focused on, but she herself.
She makes me enthusiastic. I am not alone in this, and I am not going to be quiet about it because the media is straining to believe that I don't exist, or because fauxgressive cis white men don't want to hear my voice any more than they want to hear Clinton's. But both of us, and a lot of others, are going to keep talking, and thinking, and working, and achieving.
Sanders' supporters may be louder, but yelling the loudest and talking the most doesn't mean you have better things to say. And it's easy to be the loud ones getting all the attention when you don't have to worry about hateful invective hurled at you for it.
Being vocal about supporting Clinton, about liking her, about being enthusiastic for her candidacy, is not always easy. As Sady Doyle has said, it can even feel subversive, because it is so often met with derision, dismissiveness, and finger-wagging disapproval of your insufficient progressivism.
But if you want to counter a false narrative, you've got to put forth an authentic one in its place. You've got to raise your voice, speak your truth, and show your enthusiasm, with pride and conviction.
Win or lose, Clinton gets closer to the nomination while Sanders gets further away.
Sanders has to start winning every state by a landslide victory to have even a mathematical chance of catching Clinton's nearly 300 delegate lead. Kentucky was called for Clinton as an "apparent winner" at around 9:30pm by NBC and after 10pm by Kentucky's secretary of state, who called her the "unofficial winner."
Now, Sanders has maintained that he'll stay in the race until the end of voting, and we don't have any new reason to believe he'll fly the white flag after Clinton's victory tonight. And his hard-line response to the Democratic Party over this weekend's events in Nevada certainly don't suggest he's ready to call it quits.
But Sanders needed to win Kentucky to maintain an increasingly far-fetched path to the Democratic nomination.
The loss is particularly tough for Sanders's campaign given that Kentucky could prove one of the more favorable states for him remaining in the race.
"Given the West Virginia results, I think Sanders is probably favored," said Kyle Kondik of the Center for Responsive Politics in an interview Tuesday morning, before voting began. "Sanders has a very good chance in Kentucky."
Sanders is handling his imminent defeat with his signature grace and rationality:Sanders will probably face steeper odds in the upcoming contests in California and New Jersey, where have polls have Clinton leading by as much as double digits. Polling from Kentucky was scarce, but the state's largely white and rural voters were widely expected to break for Sanders — as they have throughout the country.
"I lost on votes, states, pledged delegates, & superdelegates, but make me the nominee & adopt my platform or else!" pic.twitter.com/eXUvEnuyTp— Smooth Kobra (@smoothkobra) May 18, 2016
Josh Marshall writes for Talking Points Memo:
This should have been obvious to me. The tone and tenor of a campaign always come from the top. It wasn't obvious to me until now.
It's not Weaver. It's not driven by people around him. It's right from him. And what I understand from knowledgable sources is that in the last few weeks anyone who was trying to rein it in has basically stopped trying and just decided to let Bernie be Bernie.
Sanders speech tonight was right in line with his statement out this afternoon. He identified the Democratic party as an essentially corrupt, moribund institution which is now on notice that it must let 'the people' in. What about the coalitions Barack Obama built in 2008 and 2012, the biggest and most diverse presidential coalitions ever constructed?
Sanders narrative today has essentially been that he is political legitimacy. The Democratic party needs to realize that. This, as I said earlier, is the problem with lying to your supporters. Sanders is telling his supporters that he can still win, which he can't. He's suggesting that the win is being stolen by a corrupt establishment, an impression which will be validated when his phony prediction turns out not to be true. Lying like this sets you up for stuff like happened over the weekend in Nevada.
As I said, it all comes from the very top.Amanda Marcotte writes for Salon:
Under the circumstances, it’s hard to really buy the argument that this eruption of anger is really about some kind of moral outrage in the face of injustice. This is made all the more apparent by the role that gender is playing in all this, and not just because words like “bitch” and “cunt” are so favored by Sanders supporters expressing their displeasure at losing.
After all, it’s not just Lange that Sanders supporters are villainizing. Barbara Boxer’s presence at the convention seems to have caused a near-meltdown in the crowd there. Considering that the majority of Democratic leadership is still male, it’s hard to really buy that it’s just a remarkable coincidence that it’s female leaders who get the lion’s share of the hate from Sanders supporters.
Which isn’t to say this is all about sexism. A lot of the problem is because the Sanders campaign is a dead campaign walking. There’s no way Sanders can win at this point. It creates a situation where some of the more realistic and sober-minded Sanders supporters are cutting their losses and moving on. (This is probably why Sanders had so much trouble filling out all his delegate seats but Clinton did not.) Without the moderating force of the more realistic Sanders supporters, the voices of the dead-enders — who are more prone to rage, misogyny, and conspiracy theories — have a disproportionate influence.
Still, it’s not like the campaign has been whittled down to nothing but dead-enders. Sanders could, if he wanted to, do a lot to rein in the worst elements, by asking people to chill out and behave respectfully.
Unfortunately, there’s no sign that the campaign really wants to do that. Sure, they are issuing rote condemnations of violence, but beyond that, the Sanders camp seems unwilling to ask people to dial down the sexism and conspiracy theories to focus on the issues.
In a statement responding to the Nevada convention, for instance, the Sanders campaign said that while they don’t condone violence, they encourage the party “figure out a way to welcome people who have been energized and excited by his campaign into the party.”
Sorry, but calling a woman at home to spew misogynistic vitriol at her isn’t being “energized and excited”. It’s being hateful and bigoted. The Democrats should prioritize making the party safe for women, not safe for men who like to yell “cunt” at them.Sanders finally released a statement about the Nevada convention, and, well...
Melissa McEwan writes for Shakesville:
1. I can't believe he said his campaign has held events in "high crime areas." Good lord.
2. I also can't believe he's said that there have been "zero reports of violence," when people have been documenting threats of violence from his supporters for months. If he condemns "any and all forms of violence," then he shouldn't be erasing the threats of violence emanating from many of his supporters, given that harassment and threats are typically regarded as a form of violence.Dana Milbank writes for Washington Post:
3. His "movement" is the rationale for continuing to campaign until the convention. But the movement he's building is garbage. And he's in deep denial about the reality of what some of his supporters are doing. Or he just doesn't care. Either way, it's not evidence of good leadership, and it's not a movement I want any part of. Frankly, this isn't even leadership. It's incitement.
4. I'm sure Harry Reid is thrilled that he went out and said they had a productive meeting, only for Sanders to throw him under the bus and shit all over the Democratic Party (again). What. Is. He. Even. Doing.
Let’s examine what Bernie Sanders supporters did in his name over the weekend.
As the Nevada Democratic convention voted to award a majority of delegates to Hillary Clinton — an accurate reflection of her victory in the state’s February caucuses — Sanders backers charged the stage, threw chairs and shouted vulgar epithets at speakers. Security agents had to protect the dais and ultimately clear the room.
And the candidate’s response to the violent and misogynistic behavior of his backers? Mostly defiance. Asked by reporters Tuesday about the convention chaos — in which operatives from his national campaign participated — Sanders walked away in the middle of the question.
Finally, mid-afternoon Tuesday, Sanders released a statement saying, “I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals.” But he blamed the Nevada party for preventing a “fair and transparent process,” and he threatened Democrats: “If the Democratic Party is to be successful in November, it is imperative that all state parties treat our campaign supporters with fairness and the respect that they have earned.”
It is no longer accurate to say Sanders is campaigning against Clinton, who has essentially locked up the nomination. The Vermont socialist is now running against the Democratic Party.
Sanders has, indeed, lightened up on Clinton and is instead trying to shape the Democrats’ platform and direction. But his attacks on the party have released something just as damaging to the causes he professes to represent. Coupled with his refusal to raise money for the party, his increasingly harsh rhetoric could hurt Democrats up and down the ballot in November and beyond.
“We are taking on virtually the entire Democratic establishment,” Sanders proclaims.
“The Democratic Party has to reach a fundamental conclusion: Are we on the side of working people or big-money interests?” he asks.
“The Democratic Party up to now has not been clear about which side they are on on the major issues facing this country,” he announces.
This was Ralph Nader’s argument in 2000: There isn’t much difference between the two parties. It produced President George W. Bush.This kind of invective, destructive rhetoric is not normal. In fact, many longtime Democratic leaders and activists have never seen anything like it.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, a veteran of Democratic politics, says she never saw anything quite like this before.
Loud cursing, shouting, obscene gestures and vile insults, including crude comments about the female anatomy. It was all on display over the weekend as supporters of Bernie Sanders turned the Nevada State Democratic Convention into chaos.
"I was not able to stop these people for doing what they did," Boxer, a Hillary Clinton supporter, told CNN. "Apparently they've done it before. .... This group of about 100 were very vocal, and I can't describe it -- disrespectful doesn't even explain it, it was worse than that."
Boxer is hardly the lone Clinton supporter to experience such harassment on the campaign trail. Several top Democrats told CNN publicly and privately that the energy and enthusiasm of Sanders supporters has at times descended into incendiary attacks that threaten to tear apart efforts to unite Democrats against Donald Trump. Several female senators told CNN the attacks have been misogynistic.
What's more, many Democrats fear that if Sanders does not rein in his supporters, the same ugly scene that occurred in Las Vegas last weekend could replicate itself in the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
The Huffington Post reports:"He should get things under control," Boxer said of Sanders, saying it was worse than the vitriol during the Bush-Gore 2000 recount. "We're in a race that is very critical. We have to be united. He knows that. I have in fact, called him a couple times, left a couple messages. I'm hopeful he can get control of this."
Later on Tuesday afternoon, Sanders campaign press secretary Michael Briggs released a lengthy and largely unapologetic statement on the incident in which Sanders urged the party to be more accommodating to his supporters and said leaders in Nevada had used their power “to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place.” He simultaneously said he disavows violence and harassment and that his campaign “believes in non-violent change.”
In the meantime, the anger unleashed Saturday has spilled beyond the political realm. Tom Gallagher, a majority partner in the tavern where Lange serves as operations manager, said the bar has been getting threatening phone calls since 3 a.m. Sunday. Eventually, they had to shut down their phones, only to watch as they were bombarded online.
The tavern’s Facebook page and website were overtaken by people demanding that Lange be fired. Someone created a phony Facebook account for Lange that accused her of “scurrilous stuff” — as Gallagher put it — and claimed her husband had committed crimes against children. Someone managed to alter the Google search results so it appeared the tavern was permanently closed.
“I’ve been in politics for 50 years now,” said Gallagher, who ran for Congress in 2004.
“And I think Bernie is losing control of his people. These are folks out there who have no concept about rational political discourse. Now a lot of Bernie’s folks are really good friends of mine and they’re embarrassed by this. But there are crazies out there that are truly a little scary.”Of course, Sanders rolling around in filth doesn't change the expectations that Clinton be super ladylike and gracious and accommodating in victory because reasons.
Nancy LeTourneau writes for Washington Monthly:
So…there is nothing wrong with expecting the winner to be magnanimous. But the truth is, women have been doing that for centuries. We’ve been smiling and taking it because to do otherwise diminishes our ability to reach our goals. When we ask this of Hillary, women all over the country know exactly what that feels like and we risk triggering their ire in response. In this case, what we have is a white male candidate whose supporters claim grievances that are expressed via tantrums and threats. But we place the burden on the woman to reach out and make nice.
This is part of what it means to nominate the first woman in this country to be president. In a lot of ways, it is similar to what we learned from having our first African American president. Each move is viewed through the lens of what millions of people in this country have put up with for years. That is the price we pay for centuries of white patriarchy. It is important to keep that in mind when we establish expectations for how these “firsts” handle themselves.Clinton is the only candidate left in the race who hasn’t sacrificed her dignity and professionalism in pursuit of victory. Here’s the response from her camp about the Nevada convention:
Hillary campaign boss Robby Mook strikes a conciliatory tone after Sanders/NV nastiness. Let's all get along. pic.twitter.com/TOyKWjiNeB— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) May 18, 2016
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