Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Expressions Of Anxiety Unnecessary

Sometimes, you had to be there. I wasn't at the Wednesday morning meeting Bernie Sanders had with the House Democratic caucus, but neither were the Politico reporters who wrote

Sanders also stunned some of the Democrats in attendance when he told them that winning elections wasn't the only thing they should focus on. While they wanted to hear about how to beat Donald Trump — and how Sanders might help them win the House back — he was talking about remaking the country.

"The goal isn't to win elections, the goal is to transform America," Sanders said at one point, according to multiple lawmakers and aides in the room.

It must be hard to imagine a United States Senator (photo from Greg Nash via The Hill) whose primary objective is to reform the nation. Or at least it is for some of the Representatives, given that

Some Democrats booed Sanders for that line, which plays better on the campaign trail than in front of a roomful of elected officials....

The senator also talked about his outstanding issues with the party's platform, particularly when it comes to trade.

"To say, as he did, that the goal is not to win elections but for people to embrace his ideas is disconnected from what we are trying to do here. He had a chance to talk about getting things done and instead talked about prolonging his process," the Democratic source added.

It appears that "prolonging the process" refers to "not promptly endorsing Hillary Clinton." Politico adds

House Democrats overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton during the presidential primary fight, so it was not surprising that Sanders got a cool reception from them.

But frustration with Sanders was also evident. Rank-and-file House Democrats want Sanders to officially drop out of the race and throw his support behind the presumptive nominee, and they can't understand why he hasn't so far.

"It was frustrating because he's squandering the movement he built with a self-obsession that was totally on display," said a senior Democrat, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

He would be "squandering the movement" only if the sole objective of that movement were to get himself nominated and elected. It seems, however, that Sanders has been taking a longer view, which as Vermont's Peter Welch noted, includes the "need (for) a platform that is going to genuinely create excitement for our nominee” with "an agenda that excites people, including the younger people."

Virginia's Gerry Connolly tweeted "Bernie was respectfully received by Caucus" and "expressions of disagreement are NOT booing" (emphasis his). Most of the other members of the caucus appear to be disregarding the importance of excitement.  Sanders could endorse Clinton at any time but the most compelling occasion would be the most dramatic. That would be at the convention, a quadrennial event producing few if any surprises anymore. The endorsement could be stage-managed to occur at the moment when particularly large viewership is expected or when viewers could be drawn to the event with the expectation of an endorsement.

Most of all, Democrats should take the advice given teammates by Aaron Rodgers.  There are four months to go to the election and plenty of time for voters to take sides. Some will go to Clinton, Trump, and back to Clinton or vice-versa. Some will flirt with Gary Johnson or Jill Stein before landing with the one of the Big Two.

Bernie Sanders probably will eventually "endorse" Hillary Clinton.  In the unlikely event he does not, there will be plenty of time for recriminations.

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