Monday, July 11, 2016

Giving A Leg Up To Trump

The Orlando Sentinel reports  

Frustrated supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders were dealt a series of defeats as they made their last stand Saturday inside an Orlando hotel, where fellow Democrats refused to adopt several of their candidate’s progressive policies into the party’s platform.

Though they reached some compromises, the ongoing tension between the party’s progressive wing and supporters of presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton was clear throughout the two-day meeting of the Democratic National Platform Committee at the DoubleTree at Universal Orlando.

Early in the day, the committee refused to add language rejecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which left Clinton-backers applauding and some Sanders supporters streaming for the exits.

US News explains

The panel, which is developing the party's platform ahead of next month's Philadelphia convention, instead backed a measure that said "there are a diversity of views in the party" on the TPP and reaffirmed that Democrats contend any trade deal "must protect workers and the environment."

Given that Bernie Sanders is a staunch, outspoken opponent of the TPP and Hillary Clinton a few months earlier finally was shamed into coming out against the deal (as it stands), this is stunningly vague- and self-defeating.

Monday evening on Hardball, Sam Stein reported that the primary opposition to the anti-TPP plank came not from representatives of Hillary Clinton but from Obama supporters.  That is quite plausible because

On trade, Obama has promoted the TPP despite opposition from rank-and-file Democrats. Members of the panel said it would be wrong to undercut the outgoing president in the platform.

"What I don't want to do is leave this place disregarding the position of the President of the United States," said Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., a Clinton supporter who noted his opposition to trade deals.

President Obama's position shouldn't be disregarded or ignored; only repudiated.

Donald Trump, who has denounced the agreement (without specifying his reason for opposition) no doubt is pleased that the Democratic Party has served him a big, hanging curve.The Party's tepid, meaningless plank (if approved in Philadelphia) will be no match for the vociferous criticism the Republican presidential nominee has leveled. He will be at his demagogic best when he not only rebukes Mrs. Clinton, but blames her for the Trans-Pacific Partnership itself.  The phrase "national sovereignty" may become as familiar as "terrorism."

Barack Obama is not on any ballot this November, and he will be unscathed. It will be left to Hillary Clinton and her surrogates to defend the nearly indefensible

That will not be helpful, and could prove the decisive factor in Ohio, Michigan, and/or Pennsylvania. The Sanders camp was right both on the policy and the politics. The platform committee, however, seems less interested in keeping the presidency and retaking the Senate than in sparing Barack Obama's feelings (video below from 6/15).

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