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Thursday, May 19, 2016

The idealism is breathtaking

I've been reading some of the messages state to Democratic Chairwoman Roberta Lange by Bernie Sanders' supporters after the convention in Nevada. I've seen no posts about this at America Magazine or dotCommonweal yet, though in the past they've both had a number of positive posts on Bernie and his so very idealistic supporters. The messages sent to Lange are full of misogyny, hatred, threats to the life of Lange and even to her children and grandchild. Oh, and though you can't see them at the link, she also received photos of dead animals. The idealism is breathtaking.

You might say this is an isolated event, just the work of a few nuts and not representative of Bernie supporters, but Lange has received more than 1,000 calls since Saturday night and as many as three text messages per minute. And this isn't an isolated incident ... Clinton Superdelegates Say Angry Sanders Supporters Are Harassing Them ... and ... Some Democrats accuse Sanders supporters of harassing convention delegates

When Trump's rallies got violent and his supporters got abusive, we all wanted to hold him accountable - we should do the same for Bernie.

More reading ...

- From PolitiFact: Allegations of fraud and misconduct at Nevada Democratic convention unfounded

- From Mother Jones: The Sad Decline and Fall of Bernie Sanders

- From TIME: Felt the Bern But the Bros Are Extinguishing the Flames

- From The Washington Post's editorial board: After tensions explode in Nevada, it’s time for Sanders to be honest with his supporters

- From TPM: It Comes From the Very Top

For months I'd thought and written that Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver was the key driver of toxicity in the the Democratic primary race. Weaver has been highly visible on television, far more than campaign managers tend to be. He's also been the one constantly upping the tension, pressing the acrimony and unrealism of the campaign as Sanders actual chances of winning dwindled.

But now I realize I had that wrong.

Actually, I didn't realize it. People who know told me.

Over the last several weeks I've had a series of conversations with multiple highly knowledgable, highly placed people. Perhaps it's coming from Weaver too. The two guys have been together for decades. But the 'burn it down' attitude, the upping the ante, everything we saw in that statement released today by the campaign seems to be coming from Sanders himself. Right from the top.

This should have been obvious to me. The tone and tenor of a campaign always come from the top. It wasn't obvious to me until now.

This might be because he's temperamentally like that. There's some evidence for that. It may also be that, like many other presidential contenders, once you get close it is simply impossible to let go. I don't know which it is. That would only be my speculation. But this is coming from Bernie Sanders. It's not Weaver. It's not driven by people around him. It's right from him. And what I understand from knowledgable sources is that in the last few weeks anyone who was trying to rein it in has basically stopped trying and just decided to let Bernie be Bernie ...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:43 PM  

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