Monday, May 23, 2016

The Real Bernie Sanders Is Beginning to Show and It's Looking Ugly

While I have friends who continue to rally to Bernie Sanders, I suspect more and more progressives and Democrats are beginning to see the many for what he is: a self-aggrandizing loose canon who puts his own ego and vanity above all else.  It seems that if Sanders cannot win the Democrat nomination, he's only too happy to go on a campaign of destruction against the Democrat Party and in the process potentially hand the presidency to Donald Trump - a man who is the antithesis of what Sanders claims to support.  Frankly, I have lost all patience and all respect for the man who has become a dangerous gadfly.  As a piece in Politico notes, others are similarly losing patience and want Sanders to end his campaign.  Here are article highlights:
Is the left turning on its darling, Bernie Sanders? On Friday, Netroots titan Markos Moulitsas, namesake of the liberal Daily Kos, dropped a rhetorical bomb on the Bern, blaming the candidate for doing too little to denounce death threats received by the Nevada Democratic Party after Sanders’ state convention delegates complained they had received unfair treatment. “The problem isn't Bernie Sanders' supporters,” Moulitsas wrote. “It's Bernie Sanders himself … [He] refuses to forcefully and unambiguously reject that violence, instead rationalizing and explaining it away with a mix of grievances and outright conspiracy theory.”
What we are seeing, however, is that it’s no longer taboo in liberal circles to attack Sanders as he drags out the nomination process at a time when many are itching to turn their fire on Donald Trump. And if his reputation in the party is being damaged outside his base, that will make it harder for him to extract concessions from Clinton regarding the platform and party nomination rules at the convention.
Through much of the campaign, Sanders wore a progressive halo, making it tricky for Clinton to play classic hardball politics (not that she didn’t try). Even if Democratic voters didn’t believe he was the practical choice, his platform still spoke to the ideological aspirations of many in the party. His supporters heard, “I like Bernie, but…” so much that they turned it into a website providing information designed to assuage unsure voters.
Much of the warm, fuzzy sentiment was based on a perception of Sanders as a non-politician, a man so wedded to his ideals that he would not besmirch them by engaging in petty politics.
But in the months that followed, the Sanders campaign adopted an increasingly harder edge, gradually depriving him of angelic protections. Now, with only six states remaining on the primary calendar, the delegate math harder and harder to ignore, and the Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump short of insurmountable, partisan impulses on the left are kicking in, and patience for squabbles is wearing thin.
 This week another prominent figure in the online progressive community, Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall, also blamed Sanders directly for the increased animosity, saying: “The 'burn it down' attitude, the upping the ante … seems to be coming from Sanders himself. Right from the top.” Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum said more in sorrow than in anger this week, “It's sort of painful to see a good person like Bernie turned into such a sullen and resentful man.”
Sanders likely grasps the potential danger of alienating too many progressives. Despite the charges that the toxicity comes “from the top” of the Sanders campaign, Bloomberg News reports that Sanders has personally reached out to fellow senators and given “behind-the-scenes assurances” that he “understands the need for party unity.” . . . . He may believe this is a safe line to walk, remembering the intense yet ephemeral acrimony of the 2008 campaign.

The ideological goals of Sanders and his voters both overlap and compete with the goal of Democratic harmony, complicating his strategic decision-making. But he could try to transcend the binary choice between confrontation and reconciliation. If there’s one thing Sanders can’t stand, is a media distracted by food fights and ignoring matters of substance. . . . Right now, the media is getting a lot of the sport it likes, and Sanders is getting a lot less of what he likes. He might consider delivering a speech on how giving reporters fodder for stories about discord only serves to take the spotlight away from income inequality and corporate influence over democracy – which would be a way to urge better behavior from his supporters without sounding like he’s scolding them.
Because if Bernie wants to own the moral high ground at the convention, he’ll need to return the focus of his campaign to the issues in its final days.

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