Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to ‘reform’ the Democratic Party…. (More)

“It is critical that we come together and reform the Democratic Party”

I think Sen. Sanders had this column queued up for when Democrats lost this week:

Donald Trump’s presidency represents an unprecedented crisis for our country. His campaign, and now his White House, seek to divide us using racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia and xenophobia. His economic agenda is the agenda of the billionaire class. He wants more tax breaks for the rich, while cutting education, nutrition, affordable housing and other programs desperately needed by working families. And his refusal to acknowledge the great danger of climate change is a threat to the entire planet.

There is nothing, nothing more important than defeating Donald Trump and his extreme right-wing agenda. But this will not happen without an effective opposition party.

But Democrats didn’t lose – in fact we won bigtime, including lots of diversity ‘firsts’ – so he had to rejigger the next paragraph:

Victories in Virginia, New Jersey, Washington, Maine and other states around the country on Tuesday are an important first step in pushing back against Trump’s radical agenda. It was especially gratifying to see thousands of working people and young people jump into the political process, volunteering, knocking on doors and winning elections to state legislatures, city councils and school boards. But the longer-term trend for the Democratic Party is worrisome.

He then goes back to the Why Democrats Keep Losing column that he had on tap:

Since 2009, it has lost more than 1,000 seats in state legislatures across the country. Republicans now control the White House and 34 (soon to be 33) out of 50 governorships, as well as the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

In 26 states, Republicans control the governor’s mansion along with the entirety of the state legislature. This is not just in so-called deep red states. It is true in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Florida and New Hampshire, all of which will be critical to defeating Trump in 2020, and in drawing congressional districts following that year’s Census.

And pivots to He Wuz Robbed:

Donna Brazile’s recent book makes it abundantly clear how important it is to bring fundamental reforms to the Democratic Party. The party cannot remain an institution largely dominated by the wealthy and inside-the-Beltway consultants. It must open its doors and welcome into its ranks millions of working people and young people who desperately want to be involved in determining the future of our nation.

Specifically, his ‘reforms’ just happen to be … making the Democratic presidential primary system more Sanders-friendly:

First, it is absurd that the Democratic Party now gives over 700 superdelegates – almost one-third the number a presidential candidate needs to win the nomination – the power to control the nominating process and ignore the will of voters.

Second, in contrast to Republicans, Democrats believe in making voting easier, not harder. We believe in universal and same-day voter registration and ending antiquated, arbitrary and discriminatory voter registration laws. These same principles must apply to our primaries.[…]

Third, in states that use caucuses, we must make it easier for working people and students to participate. While there is much to be said for bringing people together, face to face to discuss why they support the candidate of their choice, not everybody is able to participate because of work, child care or other obligations. A process must be developed that gives everyone the right to cast a vote even if they are not physically able to attend a caucus.

And of course there’s his perennial Big Money Conspiracy Theory:

Finally, if we are to succeed, we must fully appreciate Brazile’s revelations and understand the need for far more transparency in the financial and policy workings of the Democratic Party. Hundreds of millions of dollars flow in and out of the Democratic National Committee with little to no accountability. That simply is not acceptable.

In case his Politico column wasn’t enough, Sanders thundered on for the Washington Post:

“Do you believe in open primaries, or do you not?” Sanders (I-VT) said in an interview in his Senate office. “Do you believe in transparency or not? Do you believe in keeping 700-plus superdelegates or not? Do you believe in letting people vote in caucuses who currently cannot? Those are the issues. There are some people thinking politically, giving all kinds of reasons [why not] – but those are the issues.”

Okay. I’ll play.

No, I don’t believe in open primaries. I don’t want Republicans – most of whom will have little incentive to vote in their own party’s 2020 primaries – to vote on the Democratic Party’s nominee. Come to think of it, I don’t want ‘independents’ to vote on the Democratic Party’s nominee. It is, after all, the Democratic Party’s nominee. If you want to help choose that nominee … register as a Democrat. Most states let you do that online now. It’s really not a chore.

No, I don’t believe in “transparency,” if that means detailed during-campaign reporting of party expenditures. I don’t want to tell Republicans how much the DNC are spending on ads, voter databases, field office staffing, training and outreach, etc. That is strategic information, and there’s a damn good reason the DNC don’t report it in detail until after an election.

Yes, I do believe in keeping superdelegates. They’re elected Democrats and senior Democratic Party officials and – color me crazy – I want a Democratic Party presidential candidate who has earned their trust.

No, I don’t want to make it easier for people to vote in caucuses. I want to eliminate caucuses altogether. They’re inconvenient, cumbersome, and not always a reliable sample of the party’s voters. Primaries make it easier to vote.

But above all that …

… no, I don’t want a not-a-Democrat dictating ‘reforms’ to the Democratic Party. Senator Sanders doesn’t raise money for other Democratic candidates. He rarely lifts a finger to help their campaigns. The wonderfully diverse Democrats who won this week earned their victories without his support.

But all of those winners – and the rest of us – are supposed to bow down and accept his demands for ‘reforms’ … that would oh-so-conveniently make it easier for him to be our 2020 presidential nominee?

No, Bernie, I don’t want your ‘reforms.’ If you want a say in how the Democratic Party is run, start by joining it. Then do grunt work for other Democrats, and earn their and our trust.

We’re not your lackeys.


Photo Credit: Joshua Roberts (Reuters)


Good day and good nuts