Saturday, March 7, 2020

Bernie bails on Mississippi and Selma, aims for his 30%

kos (Daily Kos Staff) details how Bernie’s grievance politics consolidated the left to a 30% losing minority.

… the Sanders campaign decided early on that his path to the nomination consisted of keeping his core 30% base intact, and nothing more: As The Atlantic noted, “And then, Sanders aides believe, he’ll easily win enough delegates to put him into contention at the convention. They say they don’t need him to get more than 30 percent to make that happen.”

That was important, as we’ve discussed, because it set the tone for the entirety of their campaign—from othering the supporters of other candidates as “neoliberal corporatist shills” (and worse) to sticking with a message that had failed Sanders already in 2016, when only two candidates had been in the race.

And it’s shocking how close to 30% his results have been:

IOWA 26.5%
NEVADA 40.5%
MAINE 32.9%
UTAH 34.6%

Take a guess what his overall percentage is so far. 28.9%

It’s amazing seeing a strategy play out so well! They set out to win 30%, and they nailed it. (Well, close enough.)

Why didn’t someone say, “Bernie, 30% is, uh, less than 50%”? No one seriously considered that because, again, it would have required compromising that message of a “dependable left politician.”

Or, as Sanders’ campaign manager said when I questioned the lack of message adjustments?

Faiz @fshakir We haveWe have the same fundamental economic injustices in our system as 4 yrs ago. Bernie has consistent solutions as 4 yrs ago. He says what he truly believes, and he’d act on it as President. …

@MeetThePress WATCH: Daily Kos Founder Markos Moulitsas tell Chuck why Bernie Sanders did not stand out in the debates. #MTPDaily@markos: “The problem with Bernie Sanders is that he has the exact same message he had four years ago.”

Of course Faiz was right! The economic injustices remain! But Sanders’ approach wasn’t winning new converts. There isn’t just a single way to talk about injustice, and many do so more eloquently, with a more inclusive approach that makes clear to all base Democrats that they’re being seen and heard. Sanders never cared to even try to broaden that message without sacrificing his core ideals.

In fact, Sanders took that rigidity to such absurd lengths that he refused even to talk to people he might disagree with!

So the only people worth talking to are those who would endorse his brand of politics? Is that why he skipped Selma this year, because black voters—who have a greater claim to grievance politics than anyone else—wouldn’t vote for him?

Such an approach to politics is a downright Trumpian/Bushian “us versus them” mentality, and it permeated every level of his campaign, from Sanders to his core campaign team and all the way down to his surrogates and supporters. Grievance politics requires an enemy, and rather than train their fire on their true enemy, they indiscriminately shot at anyone who wasn’t part of their core 30%—to the point that Elizabeth Warren herself became the enemy. There’s a reason Warren refused to shake Sanders’ hand after that one debate.

The irony? Sanders’ brand of exclusionary grievance politics is the best friend any establishment ever had. Why worry about Sanders when Sanders isn’t interested in building a governing majority? Why listen to the LEFT itself if the left will jump in bed with the guy uninterested in building a governing majority?


That’s his ceiling. He only significantly broke it in Nevada, where caucuses disenfranchise the bulk of voters, and in his home state of Vermont, where he barely managed a majority. And if he could only muster the barest of majorities in VERMONT, of all places, how was he supposed to do so elsewhere?

Thirty percent was never a winning number, and the fact that the Sanders campaign built an entire campaign around hitting that—and only that—was political malpractice that doomed the left this presidential cycle.

Speaking of myopia: Daily Kos has another Bernie report, this time Bernie bails on Mississippi.

Despite getting drubbed on Super Tuesday in states with a high black Democratic voter turnout, Sen. Bernie Sanders was supposed to speak in Jackson, Miss. on Friday.

That trip has been cancelled, the New York Times reports.

After holding a rally in Phoenix on Thursday night, Mr. Sanders had been scheduled to travel to Jackson on Friday for a rally focused on racial justice.

The change in plans suggests that Mr. Sanders will not challenge Mr. Biden for the support of black voters in the South — a vital base in the Democratic Party — and is instead going all-in on the Midwest as he tries to compete with Mr. Biden for working-class voters there. Black voters in the South have overwhelmingly backed Mr. Biden to this point, and on Super Tuesday their support lifted him in states like Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia.

I would quibble with their wording, since “the Midwest” has working class voters of all races. Note that, in this context, “working class” = “white” to the campaign and the Times, in direct opposition to “black voters in the south.”

⚖️ 9Gen ✍🏼 The Microwave Left Got Nuked
In case anyone missed the original message Bernie was sending to all Americans and specifically to Black people when he blew off attending the 55th anniversary of the Selma March with Rep John Lewis, he’s now sending a loud and clear follow-up reminder.

The reference there was to the Selma March which was attended by most Dem candidates, current and former, but not Bernie. That 30% number might have gotten a wee bit lower.

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