Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Clinton wins California, Sanders vows to carry on

Yesterday Hillary Clinton won California's primary with 56%. But now all eyes are on her opponent, Bernie Sanders, who vows to take his campaign to the national convention in July. Here are snippets from the NY Times report.

Revolutions rarely give way to gracious expressions of defeat.

And so, despite the crushing California results that rolled in for him on Tuesday night, despite the insurmountable delegate math and the growing pleas that he end his quest for the White House, Senator Bernie Sanders took to the stage in Santa Monica and basked, bragged and vowed to fight on.

...

Tuesday was, undeniably, Mrs. Clinton’s night, a milestone for women in politics and civic life 95 years after the 19th Amendment guaranteed their right to vote.

But by Wednesday morning, all eyes were on Mr. Sanders. Would he be generous or petulant? Would he let go or keep battling?

At almost every turn, he was grudging toward Mrs. Clinton, passing up a chance to issue the kind of lengthy salute that many, in and out of the Democratic Party, had expected and craved.

“It’s a blown opportunity to build bridges that are going to be extremely important in the fall,” said David Gergen, an adviser to four presidents, both Democratic and Republican. He worried that Mr. Sanders was becoming “a grumpy old man.”

[2004 Presidential candidate Howard Dean] said he wonders whether Mr. Sanders will heed the warning. “Bernie has changed politics, but his changes are not going to be realized unless he leads — and leading is not going to mean tilting at windmills at the convention,” Mr. Dean said. “He has to switch into the mode of a statesman.”

“You don’t get any points for carrying on or complaining about it,” Mr. Dean added. “You get points for sucking it up.”

Another way of putting it: leadership is not a wrecking ball.

The Daily Star (tucson.com) has an interesting op-ed this morning seeking a way to unite the Democratic party.

Why can’t Clinton and Sanders just sit down and work out a Democratic Party platform adjusted for these new realities? We can hope, but Sanders has spent decades winning election after election by ignoring condescending derision from the press and the Democratic beltway establishment, and in the process has developed a skin as thick as a rhino’s; he’s not going to be quick to warm to Democratic Party operatives telling him he needs to change his tone. And Clinton, for her part, is surrounded by advisers who have based their careers on forms of strategic thinking — pivoting toward an imagined center, meager incrementalism, cautious social liberalism combined with economic conservatism — that are politically enervating, if not broken.

The author suggests a mediator -- Elizabeth Warren.

Elizabeth Warren is, or at least should be, the most important person in the Democratic Party right now. She is in a position to forge a new identity for the party.

She can do this partly by example; her forceful, plain speaking about banking regulation and her Twitter skirmishes with Donald Trump are models of how to effectively address the topsy-turvy political environment.

But more importantly, there will be some major struggles for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party this summer in the lead up to its convention. Warren needs to be at the center of that definitional effort. Some of the struggles will be friendly, some of them not. But in any case, they will define how the Democrats present themselves to the country in contests up and down the ballot this fall.

Warren is ideally positioned as a bridge builder. She has already been out ahead of Sanders in fundraising for other progressive candidates, her populist economic policies track closely with his, and yet she has always been committed to the Democratic Party. She has endorsed neither candidate, which puts her in a position to address both sides as an honest broker. She is fantastically skilled at addressing policy complexities with incisively plain language. Tactically and politically, Warren represents the new epicenter of the Democratic electorate, and her clear-eyed economic populism reaches across party lines. Listen to her. Let her lead.

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