I was listening passively to a political discussion yesterday.
Anyway, one of them made a few interesting points, not so much about the primaries, but about November’s general election. Here they are, filtered through my passive listening.
1. Don’t discount the almost universal antipathy toward Hillary Clinton.
It’s almost irrational at times, as evidenced by Donald Trump's still using her as the designated ogre at his rallies. But it’s Democrats also. I didn’t exactly hold my nose in the voting booth in 2016, but I was motivated more by my disdain for the unregistered sex offender on the other ballot line. I could not have been the only one. And if there were millions more, and if even one percent stayed home as a result, then Trump’s election becomes less inexplicable. Take heart, Dems, Hillary is not running, and if the party can keep her from endorsing anyone, enough voters will forget her and select whoever runs against Trump.
2. Fed up Americans wanted a populist revolution in 2016. They may not want another one.
And this bodes ill for Bernie Sanders. He has been on-message all his life, all through 2016, and all through the current primary process. But for all his consistency, his message is annoyingly loud and strident. He’s like former basketball coach Bobby Knight: his players swore by him because he pushed them to extremes, but nobody else could stand him for the same reason. Bernie's "players" won't get Bernie elected—there aren't enough of them. They can cheer and scream and curse and berate—but they won't bring others along and each of them can vote only once. When Sanders talks about bringing the country together but does so with his amplifier turned up to 11, people start blocking their ears. Joe Biden’s rebound may be a dead cat bounce, but it’s also a reaction to Sanders’s intransigence.
3. In 2016 there was a belief that the DNC stole the nomination from Sanders. Last night confirmed it, even if it was four years later.
America may pay for the sudden endorsement of Biden last night from Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and O’Rourke. They all should have waited and sounded a little less conspiratorial. I do understand their motivation, although only Mayor Pete spoke eloquently about uniting the country. Yet even he could have waited until tomorrow. Bernie Sanders can now claim, and with good reason, that the DNC (if there is one) is out to get him. Oh, and why will America pay? Because Sanders supporters will be less enthusiastic for anyone but Bernie, and it will weaken Biden’s claim to fairness, to being aboveboard—the single most important quality separating him from the current occupant of the White House.
With Trump's lies becoming more numerous and his lack of leadership ability more dangerous, this next general election is the Democrats’ to lose; but with eight months to shoot themselves in many feet—and a seemingly unending cache of weapons—I'm sorry to say I like their chances.