Yesterday Bernie Sanders told the Associated Press that the Democratic National Convention could get “messy.” But of course he didn’t mean that the way it sounds…. (More)
“Democracy is messy”
If you take his words at face value, Sanders seem almost reasonable:
The Vermont senator said he will “condemn any and all forms of violence” but his campaign was bringing in newcomers to the process and first-time attendees of political conventions. He said the Democratic Party could choose to be more inclusive.
“I think if they make the right choice and open the doors to working-class people and young people and create the kind of dynamism that the Democratic Party needs, it’s going to be messy,” Sanders said. “Democracy is not always nice and quiet and gentle but that is where the Democratic Party should go.”
Asked if the convention could be messy, Sanders said: “So what? Democracy is messy. Everyday my life is messy. But if you want everything to be quiet and orderly and allow, you know, just things to proceed without vigorous debate, that is not what democracy is about.”
Y’know who else said “Democracy is messy?” Yes, Donald Rumsfeld used that exact phrase to shrug off riots and looting after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Maybe Sanders doesn’t remember that. Maybe Sanders means a different kind of “messy,” what he calls “vigorous debate.” Maybe….
“That is why you want the process to play out”
Thing is, I no longer give Sanders the benefit of the doubt. Because he also said this:
Sanders said he had a “shot” at winning the June 7 California primary against Hillary Clinton and said, given his delegate deficit, it was “imperative” that he perform well.
“What happens if I win a major victory in California? Will people say, ‘Oh, we’re really enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton despite the fact that Bernie Sanders has now won whatever it may be, 25 states, half the states?'” he said.
If that happens, he added, super-delegates “may rethink that. That is why you want the process to play out.”
First, polling averages show him almost certain to lose in both California and New Jersey on June 7th. Clinton needs only 255 pledged delegates to secure a majority of the 4051 pledged delegates available.
If the New Jersey polling average holds, she would pick up 90 of the Garden State’s 142 pledged delegates, leaving her 165 shy of a pledged delegate majority. Even if Sanders won 100% of the vote and all of the pledged delegates in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and D.C. (and he won’t) and also won by a 69-31 margin in California (and he won’t) … Clinton would still finish with a majority of pledged delegates.
If this year’s California Democratic Primary turnout rivals 2008 – just over 5 million voters – then Sanders’ hypothetical 69-31 win would come with a roughly 2-million vote margin. And Clinton would still finish with a roughly 1-million vote popular majority.
But in Sanders’ view, the super-delegates should ignore Clinton’s popular vote majority and overturn her pledged delegate majority – for the first time since super-delegates were added to the Democratic primary process – because he currently does better in early general election polls that merely reflect Trump clinching the GOP nomination a few weeks before Clinton locked up the Democratic nomination.
“He is political legitimacy”
In other words, Sanders argues-without-quite-saying-it, five months of Democratic primaries and caucuses shouldn’t matter. In a ‘fair’ process, as Sanders judges it, the super-delegates should ignore actual voters and follow polls. (Well, except for polls that show Clinton leading nationally by 11 points among Democrats. The super-delegates should ignore those too.)
That’s what Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall meant when he wrote this analysis last week:
Sanders narrative today has essentially been that he is political legitimacy. The Democratic party needs to realize that. This, as I said earlier, is the problem with lying to your supporters. Sanders is telling his supporters that he can still win, which he can’t. He’s suggesting that the win is being stolen by a corrupt establishment, an impression which will be validated when his phony prediction turns out not to be true. Lying like this sets you up for stuff like happened over the weekend in Nevada.
Throughout this campaign, Sanders has been judging the Democratic primary process by the results. When he wins, the process was fair. But when he loses, the process was “stolen by a corrupt establishment.”
That pattern of dishonesty – and of refusing to acknowledge reality – is why I can’t take Sanders’ words at face value. Yes, he will “condemn any and all forms of violence” … but he’ll also quote Donald Rumsfeld on the rioting in Iraq after the Hussein regime collapsed: “Democracy is messy.” He’ll insist the first phrase cancels out the second and he only means “vigorous debate,” but he also admits that debate will not be “quiet and orderly.”
And if Sanders stays to form, he’ll judge that debate as fair if and only if he gets what he wants. Even if both campaigns’ supporters on the Platform Committee negotiate a compromise platform – as happened in Nevada – the Sanders campaign will issue a ‘minority report’ claiming that Clinton and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other ‘elites’ rigged the system.
Read through the lens of Sanders’ character during this campaign season, “Democracy is messy” sounds less like a call for “vigorous debate” … and more like a mob boss warning: “Nice convention you have there. Be a shame if anything happened to it. I’m just sayin’, things could get messy….”
But of course he doesn’t mean it that way. Oh no….
Photo Credit: AP
Good day and good nuts