Taking a break from completing her 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015 taxes (none of which have been released in full, as is traditional of presidential candidates), Bernie Sanders’ wife Jane said yesterday that few if any of Bernie Sanders’ supporters would support Hillary Clinton in the fall, ensuring Bernie’s induction into the Ralph Nader hall of fame.
If Mrs. Sanders’ threat is correct, then Sanders and his supporters would be assuring a Trump victory in the fall, and would be stepping into the shoes of Ralph Nader, who is roundly reviled on the left for handing the White House to George W. Bush back in the year 2000, when an disgruntled Nader ran as a third-party candidate and stole enough votes from Al Gore to cost him the election.
Here is Mrs. Sanders’ latest, per the Washington Post:
Jane Sanders, the candidate’s wife, made it clear that Bernie supporters won’t simply fall in line with Clinton. “If they have any hope of getting any of Bernie’s supporters, it cannot be ‘Okay, we got through the primary, now I move to the center,’ ” she told The Post. “That is the history of the Democratic and Republican party.”
It’s particularly interesting to note Mrs. Sanders’ suggesting that basically none of Sanders’ supporters would vote for Hillary, and that even if Hillary tries to woo them, only a small number will in the end support the Democratic ticket.
This effort to damage the Democratic party, and set back progressive values — what do you think Donald Trump will do to civil rights, foreign policy, and Wall Street? — is sadly standard operating procedure for the Sanders’. Bernie Sanders and his supporters hurt a crucial state supreme court contest in Wisconsin recently. Even though Sanders won Wisconsin by a decisive margin, Democrats were surprised to have lost the supreme court race. Then they found out why. Many Sanders supporters refused to support Democrats on the rest of the ticket — they simply voted for Sanders, and then left the rest of the ballot blank, ensuring an arch-conservative is now helping push Wisconsin further to the far right.
Then there is Sanders’ incessant efforts to stop Hillary Clinton from raising money for Democratic races around the country. Hillary has been teaming with the DNC in doing a series of high-profile fundraisers with celebrities and others. Sanders chose not to, and now is attacking Hillary for doing what he could have done as well. If Sanders has his way, Democratic races in the states will lose millions of dollars, while Republicans keep raising money and ensuring their electoral victories to come.
Bernie Sanders isn’t a Democrat, he’s a socialist. (And for those who claim that a “democratic socialist” isn’t the same thing as a socialist, it actually is — if you’re talking about the old hardline European socialists, who are now passé on the European left.) Sanders has no interest in helping Democrats, and has in fact spent much of his campaign attacking the Democratic party, and helping ensure that a new generation of Americans equates Democrats with Republicans.
So, while sad, it’s not surprising that the Sanders’ are is in essence putting a gun to the head of the Democratic party, by threatening to throw the election to Donald Trump. While Bernie Sanders talks a good talk about “revolution,” he has done little of significance in his long career in Washington. As impotent outsiders do, he complains a lot, and stakes out extreme positions knowing they will never be implemented. There’s no cost to being as extreme, and pandering, as possible when you know you’re never going to win. You never have to face the voters and explain why imposing socialism on America didn’t quite work out the way you promised.
It’s not surprising that Sanders’ most liberal supporters have concerns about voting for Hillary — after all, Hillary has an actual record to scrutinize. Hillary has had to stake out positions, and then follow through on them. And things didn’t always work out as planned, as happens when your theoretical goals become policy. Sanders, on the other hand, has the odd advantage of rarely having put his ideas into action. So there’s little to hold him accountable for, besides his oddly unprogressive embrace of the gun lobby.
In the end, Bernie and Jane Sanders are playing a bit fast and loose with their talk. While Bernie promises to support the ultimate Democratic candidate, Jane goes off and suggests that Sanders’ supporters won’t be as magnanimous. It’s a cute passive-aggressive way for the Sanders to have their cake and eat it too. They can claim to be above the fray and support the party’s candidate, while at the same time knifing her in the back, and the entire progressive cause in the process.
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