Hi all. Torta here. I’ve spent the past 13 years on DailyKos in support of the Democratic party and the advancement of liberal-to-progressive politics. I’ve spent the past 9 months on here professing my admiration for both our leading candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. A slight favoring toward Clinton but never bashing Sanders. I’ve long admired them both.
It’s still true. I continue to admire them both, and was headed for the NY state primary leaning Clinton but still semi-undecided; knowing she’d win, should I cast a Sanders vote anyway just to add to the tally, the number of progressive voices on record? In the end I voted Clinton; the apples to apples comparisons of their two local interviews here in the NY Daily News was the tipping point for me. I also see and saw how the whole contest was looking to land, a solid Clinton victory in the end. I still hope Sanders will campaign for progressive and solidly-liberal Senate and House candidates nationwide in key races, over the summer and fall, deploying his newfound political power and remarkable popularity where it can really make a max impact for us all in November 2016.
That said… at this late stage of the contest, I’m growing more concerned and disappointed by Sanders’ continued attempt at argument about the Superdelegates.
Let’s recap: Bernie Sanders has been a US Senator since 2007 and a US Representative from 1991 to 2007. Throughout that time, each election cycle, all his Democratic House and Senate colleagues have gone to the Convention and served as Democratic Superdelegates in 2012, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1996, 1992. Know what I’m saying here? Bernie Sanders knows full well what Superdelegates are and what they are not.
He knows they are given a vote as highest-level members of the Democratic Party. He knows they are meant to vote based on their view of the Democratic Party’s best interests and, by extension, the Democratic Party’s belief that it carries America’s best interests. He knows that the Superdelegate function is not, and never was designed to be, one in which the Supers themselves have no agency and are just serving as additional pledged delegates for the winner in the state the Superdelegate resides in.
Senator Sanders knows all of this.
Further, he knows the tally as it stands now (Clinton solidly ahead in votes cast, pledges delegates won, states won). He also knows full well the daunting mathematical outlook from here on out.
So why, then, is he exhorting the press and public opinion about the Superdelegates? Calling on the media and the crowds at his rallies to take the view that Superdelegates in pro-Sanders caucus-voting states should not be actual Superdelegates who vote in the Party’s interest, but instead should be made to behave as State-based pledged delegates for Sanders?
Tactically he knows this attempted tactic will not grant him the nomination. Not even close.
What bothers me about this is that while Sanders knows that Superdelegates are not Pledged delegates any more than cats are dogs, he is proceeding with this argument… at his rallies. It is easy to tap into, and foment further, the feelings of disgruntlement and resentment among his supporters. Many of them do not understand (and don’t care to understand) the structure of the Democratic Party, the role of Pledged delegates and Superdelegates. And here’s their candidate shouting to them that the Democratic primary process has been unfair, that the Superdelegates are somehow corrupting the process, acting out of bounds. This cements further the supporters’ feelings that if Bernie said it it must be true, the contest is rigged, it’s unfair. Thus Clinton’s victory is unfair. Thus Clinton’s legitimacy and validity as Democratic nominee is in question.
What bothers me is that Sanders knows that this is what many of his more fired-up supporters will infer and absorb from his argument about the Superdelegates. Regardless of the actual rules, regardless of the actual history of how our primary works. Regardless of the facts.
Frank Bruni wrote a recent article on "The Cult of Sore Losers" — it was mainly toward Trump, but it is affecting segments of the Sanders base as well. What disappoints me here is the appearance that Sanders is fomenting sore-loserism. The argument that you lost not because your rival won fair and square; you lost because it wasn’t fair, and your rival’s victory is less than legitimate.
I truly hope Sanders stops with this line of argument, particularly at his crowd-filled rallies. It’s inaccurate, and it’s unhealthy for the Democratic Party. He’s merely stirring up sore-loserism and bitterness among his base, in continuing to make this argument. And he knows it’s not even true.