Hillary is a money-hungry neocon who cheated Bernie out of the nomination. Bernie is a racist and a sexist and a gun lover. Bernie would have beaten Trump hands down if DNC hadn’t favored Clinton. Hillary would have beaten Trump if it wasn’t for Bernie Bros voting third party.
Am I the only one who is over this bullshit?
Because despite all the insanity ensuing from the Trump administration, this crap appears to be a priority for any number of “alleged” democrats, liberals and progressives. The negativity and the divisiveness are as welcome as a MAGA hat at the Women’s March.
Let’s Recap, Shall We?
Hillary Clinton was expected to be the Democratic nominee for President. Everyone knew she would run, everyone expected she would win the nomination. She didn’t announce officially until April 12,2015 but the press was already heralding her entry into the race.
I remember being impatient, wanting her to commit to her candidacy. I had voted for Barack Obama in 2008. I didn’t consider it a vote against Hillary – it was a vote for him. I liked him.
On April 30th, 2016, most everyone was caught by surprise when another candidate – Bernie Sanders – announced his intention to run. Sanders was relatively unknown to voters, a progressive independent from the state of Vermont.
Then on May 30, 2015, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley also threw his hat into the ring. (It’s interesting how little anger or resentment we see toward the former governor. He was never considered a major player.)
Starting Out: Pros and Cons
Hillary Clinton is an intelligent, experienced and confident woman. That alone qualified her for intense hostility from Republican men. Their dislike was visceral, constant and at times, frightening. She has spent the majority of her life in public service, with a focus on women and children.
What Hillary Clinton is not is a good candidate. She doesn’t connect well with crowds, struggles with messaging, and can come across as defensive and secretive. (Before anyone screams – of course she does, she’s been attacked for years – that doesn’t change the perception it created with voters. )
Bernie Sanders is an intelligent, experienced and charismatic man. He is an independent Senator who caucuses with Democrats. He is a strong public speaker, attracted many young voters and has a consistent message. He has spent all of his life in public service, with a focus on civil rights, poverty, and income inequality.
Bernie Sanders is also a socialist – a very unproven commodity in American politics. He has never undergone the level of scrutiny he would have faced in a general election and was solely focused on domestic policy. (Before anyone screams – he beat Trump in the polls – let’s remember there is no greater election than 2016 to make us question polls.)
So two strong candidates, both qualified, both with different perspectives, strengths and limitations. Surely this is what democracy is all about?
Not So Much
What started out friendly and respectful quickly became an all out war, with supporters on both sides leading the attacks. The candidates themselves had less to say about each than their surrogates, and supporters: Hillbots and Bernie Bro’s.
The Clinton campaign seemed to have little concern about the Sanders’ candidacy at first. The general consensus (including my own) was that Hillary would be the nominee. She kicked ass at the Benghazi hearings – making Gowdy and Chaffetz look like partisan hacks.
A well turned out group of surrogates hit the news shows. Hillary supporters dominated on social media: the message? It was her turn.
That was a mistake. It’s not someone’s “turn to be nominated” because they acquiesced to a loss in a previous campaign. If that logic is followed, than according to Sander’s supporters – 2020 is Bernie’s turn.
It also started raising ire with progressives who didn’t like the idea of a pre-determined candidate. Personally, I think this is when momentum away from Hillary first started. And the cracks in the Democratic base began.
Sanders supporters began complaining about her policies. They focused on the speeches she gave on Wall Street, claiming her coziness with big money donors was a liability. Clinton supporters pushed back, accusing Sander’s liberals of promoting right-wing talking points. Liberals screamed louder, demanding transcripts from the speeches.
Hillary Clinton had every right to make paid speeches. She also had every right not to disclose those transcripts. That said, the refusal to do was another milestone in the widening split in the democratic party.
Sanders supporters had every right to disagree with Clinton’s decision. But their desire to discredit Clinton did include sharing bizarre RW talking points and conspiracy theories. There were also Sanders groups on social platforms making sexist attacks.
Though they disagreed on some issues, candidates were still for the most part publicly respectful of one another.
The next serious issue for Hillary was the email server – if not the server itself, but the press conference she held about it. It was her intention to put the issue to rest. What’s unfortunate is that she was clearly unprepared for how big of a Clinton supporters, who believe any critique against her was just another GOP talking point, were clearly irritated by any Democrat who saw it as a problem or lapse in judgement.
A generational divide was also apparent. Younger, technically savvy voters rolled their eyes as stories of dedicated Blackberry use ensued. The mainstream media focused on the story extensively, not only inciting disgruntled progressives but stoking the rage of Republican voters.
It was Bernie Sanders who called bullshit on the story – famously declaring in the first debate: “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!”
Compared to the nasty Republican debates, it was a Democratic Love Fest…oh wait.
The fight with the DNC, data theft, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Jeff Weaver – the #UniteBlue war was just getting started.