This is a critical update to this story. According to ABC news, the party is rallying around Keith Ellison.
Nov 11, 2016 (San Diego) Intra-party fights, especially things as arcane as who becomes a party chairman, or chairwoman, are palace intrigue. Usually, this is the kind of Washington inside the beltway fight that honestly does not matter. This year it does.
Bernie Sanders is asking his supporters to ask, no demand, from the Democratic National Committee that they appoint Keith Ellison. He is a minority, he is Muslim, he is a sitting congressman, and he endorsed Bernie Sanders early on. He is a progressive.
Into the breach has jumped Doctor Howard Dean. Howard Dean is the man behind the 50 state strategy. He was given or won the DNC chairmanship after the 2004 debacle, and he did build a fearsome operation. Yet, Dean is currently a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry and has become a party insider. He is also part of the same generation that brought us neoliberalism in all its glory. Why I type these words.
And of this morning Steve Israel is also jumping into the breach.
Democrats are still in denial as to what happened. They are bringing out the same excuses as they did in 2000. Never mind that 2000 should have taught them a few lessons. Instead, they are blaming the left, purists, and of course Jill Stein. Let me be clear on this. First off, Florida in 2000 was far closer and making the case that Ralph Nader cost Al Gore his fair crack at the Presidency, is still a hard one to make. There were far more Democrats, (like on Tuesday) who voted for the Republican, across the country, than all third party votes combined. In Florida, Bush overperformed among conservative Democrats and independents. There were other factors at play, like the Supreme Court, and a massive caging operation, but the Democratic Party has used Nader as a cudgel instead of learning from their mistakes. Perhaps it would have meant the end of the sweet deals in the beltway, and we get it, you guys have to pay for private school.
Rachel Meadow at MSNBC made that case Tuesday night while attacking third party voters. Yes, Miss Maddow, it would have taken all of Jill Stein Voters to cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton, and half of Gary Johnson’s. Did I mention that Johnson voters are conservatives? I thought that was relevant. So, Miss Maddow, I know you are not dumb. Neither is Nobel Prize Winner Paul Krugman who also made the case that Stein cost the election to Clinton. Can you two please come down from wherever you are, and face reality? The country wanted change. I might not like how they are bringing about that change. But they wanted change. You guys know very well that Sanders could have won the election. He was polling that well, But the party did all in its power to squash that. As Mitt Romney used to say in 2012, well you built that.
There is more. Exit polls have that information in there. It is not that people voted for Donald Trump, but they voted against Secretary Hillary Clinton. Here are the numbers:
“Have reservations: 32 percent of voters. Dislike the opponent: 25 percent.” Well, I might not be too good at math, but that is 57 percent of the electorate. They did not necessarily vote for Trump, but they voted against Clinton. These many observers said was going to happen. We saw this not a mile away, not a continent away, but a galaxy away. We are not seers or wizards. Then again I have spent way too many hours talking to people who have those struggles and feel abandoned.
So what happened here. Democrats have been running weak candidates, whether this is Al Gore in 2000, to a point John Kerry in 2004, and now, Secretary Clinton. People didn’t vote for her because she was a woman. That is another canard, another excuse. Some might not, and by the way, some ministers told their flock a woman could never be President. But that is not in the data. They did not vote for her because of the baggage going back almost a generation. Her husband came to the White House in 1992 already trailing scandals. But chiefly, they did not vote for her, because she was the embodiment of politics as usual.
When she said that Wall Street is doing great, sure it is. 40 percent of Americans live in poverty. They do not care if Wall Street is going gangbusters, they still have to decide, rent or food. Democrats make fun of this as well. They accuse the voters of being ignorant fools. Well, voters saw the factory down the road close down after NAFTA. They did not see good jobs come when it closed as promised, but instead, when there was anything to be had, it was minimum wage jobs.
Speaking of free trade, the Transpacific Partnership is dead. This is the point when historians will note neoliberalism died, and a new form of hyper-nationalism took hold. That has it’s dangers by the way, and we are not blind to them.
Now going back to the DNC chair election; as I said at the top, this is mostly inside the beltway stuff, but this will be the first indication of whether the party learned a thing. If they chose Dean or Israel, they did not. The blame game we see on social media, blaming all but the party is likely an indicator that they have not learned a thing.
The problem is that this is not going to do much good, and is going to alienate progressives and FDR liberals even more from the so-called party of the people. You think you had problems bringing Democrats out this time around? Well, 2010 didn’t teach Democrats a thing either. If they choose to put a title sugar into that bitter spoonful of pain and instead put Ellison in charge, they might get progressives to give them a chance.
While we are at it, the party also needs to finally bury the idea completely that voters will vote for them, because they have nowhere else to go. Yes, Trump over performed with white women, especially poor women. He also over performed with rank and file labor, and blacks and Latinos. Telling me that ignorant, knuckle dragging, racist people voted for him because they were there, will not fly with me either. This was a change election, and the party blew it.
The second indication is whether Leader Nancy Pelosi and Whip Stenny Hoyer step down from leadership in Congress and let a new generation start to take over. They failed, and they failed horribly. Oh and while at it, Senator Chuck Schummer should also not stand for the leadership. He is also part of the neoliberal wing of the Democratic Party. Did we mention the banks and Wall Street love him?
As is, the party is extremely divided, and what they do in the next two months will tell us if they get it. Past performance gives me little hope they actually will.