Thursday, July 28, 2016

Bernie and the boos

The Democratic convention opened with boos and disruption from Bernie supporters. AZBlueMeanie describes some of the action.

The convention disruptions began early, ‘Bernie’ chants erupt during DNC invocation, and continued for every politician speaker, with the exception of First Lady Michelle Obama. Many of the speakers disrupted were African-Americans, from the minister giving the invocation, to convention chair Rep. Marcia Fudge, to Rep. Elijah Cummings. Does anyone really believe that the disrespect shown for these speakers did not offend the African-American community? I assure you that it did.

It took comedian Sarah Silverman, a Bernie Sanders supporter, to say what many of the delegates wanted to hear by late evening: the ‘Bernie or Bust’ movement is ‘being ridiculous’. She also was lustily booed by the disrupters, but cheered by the vast majority of convention goers.

AZBlueMeanie has Bernie's "lecture" to his supporters.

The night concluded with Bernie Sanders who, unlike some of his supporters who had disrupted the convention all evening, gave a full throated endorsement of Hillary Clinton and a lecture to his supporters about how his “revolution” is not about this campaign or any candidate, but something so much more. Sanders Prepared Remarks for the Democratic National Convention:

Let me be as clear as I can be. This election is not about, and has never been about, Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, or Bernie Sanders or any of the other candidates who sought the presidency. This election is not about political gossip. It’s not about polls. It’s not about campaign strategy. It’s not about fundraising. It’s not about all the things the media spends so much time discussing.

This election is about – and must be about – the needs of the American people and the kind of future we create for our children and grandchildren.

This election is about ending the 40-year decline of our middle class the reality that 47 million men, women and children live in poverty. It is about understanding that if we do not transform our economy, our younger generation will likely have a lower standard of living then their parents.

This election is about ending the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality that we currently experience, the worst it has been since 1928. It is not moral, not acceptable and not sustainable that the top one-tenth of one percent now own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, or that the top 1 percent in recent years has earned 85 percent of all new income. That is unacceptable. That must change.

This election is about remembering where we were 7 1/2 years ago when President Obama came into office after eight years of Republican trickle-down economics.

The Republicans want us to forget that as a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, our economy was in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Some 800,000 people a month were losing their jobs. We were running up a record-breaking deficit of $1.4 trillion and the world’s financial system was on the verge of collapse.

We have come a long way in the last 7 1/2 years, and I thank President Obama and Vice President Biden for their leadership in pulling us out of that terrible recession.

Yes, we have made progress, but I think we can all agree that much, much more needs to be done.

This election is about which candidate understands the real problems facing this country and has offered real solutions – not just bombast, fear-mongering, name-calling and divisiveness.

We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor. We need leadership which brings our people together and makes us stronger – not leadership which insults Latinos, Muslims, women, African-Americans and veterans – and divides us up.

By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that – based on her ideas and her leadership – Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. The choice is not even close.

Steve Benen puts Bernie's message in a historical context.

Bernie Sanders has faced criticism, some of it fair, for creating more intra-party tensions than necessary in recent months. His detractors, however, should give the Vermont senator credit now for doing precisely what Democrats hoped to see him do.

There will be plenty of debate about whether or not he’s too late and why he didn’t take constructive steps sooner, but as NBC News reported today, Sanders isn’t on board with the disruptive tactics of his most ardent backers.

The Bernie or Bust movement appears to have been busted by Bernie…. As if making up for lost time, [Sen. Bernie Sanders] crisscrossed a sprawling hotel and convention center complex downtown to take the message from his speech directly to individual state delegations.

From New York to Wisconsin to Iowa to California to Florida to Montana to Alaska, his message to the delegates was the same: The only way for his supporters to continue what they started is to elect Clinton and stop Donald Trump.

Not surprisingly, this message wasn’t well received among his backers in the California delegation, some of whom adopted far-right Republican mantras as their own yesterday, but the senator, again to his credit, didn’t placate them.

“It’s easy to boo,” Sanders said. “But it is harder to look your kids in the face who will be living under a Donald Trump presidency.”

And what about his supporters who may be thinking about throwing their support to third-party candidates who stand no realistic chance of winning the presidency? Sanders was specifically asked this morning at a Bloomberg Politics breakfast about the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

“[Green Party members are] focusing on very, very important issues,” Sanders said. “But I think right now – what is it, three, four months before an election – you’re going to end up having a choice. Either Hillary Clinton is going to become president, or Donald Trump.”

It’s easy to overlook this, but Sanders’ electoral pragmatic streak isn’t new. The Vermonter has long kept his distance from Democratic politics, but let’s not forget that Sanders endorsed Bill Clinton in the 1990s, Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004, and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

That 2000 race is of particular interest because some on the far-left rallied behind Ralph Nader. Sanders rejected each of Nader’s national presidential bids.

By all appearances, Sanders’ calculus has been consistent for a generation: evaluate the viable candidates, support the more progressive choice. The senator may have taken the long road to get to this point in 2016, but it’s a destination he’s reached several times before.

AZBlueMeanie: "It remains to be seen whether Sanders’ supporters learned the lesson he was trying to teach them."

The next night, Sanders, in the end, moved suspension of the rules, that the roll call votes be part of the permanent record, and that the convention select Clinton as the Democratic nominee. The convention chair, Marcia Fudge, then asked for a voice vote on the selection by acclamation. It passed.

Rachel Maddow and Steve Kornacki talk about the historical implications of Sanders' motion.

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