It was so much fun for the Democrats to ridicule the GOP “clown car” that they didn’t see what was parked in their own driveway.
This is the elephant in the room of the left.
The LA Times reports Democratic mainliners are greatly puzzled by Bernie Bros refusing to tow the party line and go down lightly into the electoral night:
Now that the actions and attitudes of Sanders supporters have become a national issue thanks to the chaos at the Nevada Democratic convention last weekend, Cindy’s experience does not sound unusual. She sent me another text in the wake of the Nevada debacle to say how familiar it all sounded. “I just heard Jeff Weaver [Sanders’ campaign manager] say on CNN that what happened in Nevada was unique,” Cindy said. “Not true. He needs a reality check.”
Actually, the entire Democratic Party needs a reality check. For months, pundits have talked about a civil war in the Republican Party and the potential for a destructive split between establishment conservatives and Donald Trump’s populist insurgents. Well, the Republicans seem to be quickly getting used to the idea of Trump at the top of their ticket. Meanwhile, the rancor between the mainline Democrats who back Clinton and the activists who see Sanders as the only ideologically pure choice for progressives is getting worse.
What’s sad about the piece, as it argues that left-wing loathing of Hillary mirrors right-wing loathing, is how blissfully unaware it are how corrupt and weak she is as a candidate. Furthermore, as the piece asks for civility and unity within the party it undermines itself by basically calling Sanders supporters softie noobs:
Politics can get rough. The Clinton campaign has played hardball to get as many delegates as possible and they have benefited from a familiarity with the rules of the game that most of Sanders’ newcomers lack. But the Sanders legion has played rough as well, especially in caucus settings where they have been able to gain advantage with numbers and noise. The difference is that some Bernie backers feel their righteousness excuses anything they do, while they view the countermoves by the other side as unfair and “fascist.”
Democratic leaders are calling on Sanders to rein in the excesses of his most bellicose fans. So far, his words of caution have been tepid and that is a problem for Democrats. Their fate is in the hands of a politician who, like many of his supporters, never called himself a Democrat until he decided to upend conventional politics by running for president.
Ridiculing your intra-party opponents is always a winning unifying strategy! Because it makes it clear that you are nothing like the Republican clowns. Right.
Having hissy fits over political divisions within the party ranks misses the contradictions inherent on the American two-party system’s ideological alignments. Charles Taylor flushes them out wonderfully in his The Malaise of Modernity, whose title was later sanitized for an American audience, which apparently cannot bear very much reality, with the decidedly more upbeat title The Ethics of Authenticity:
An analogously polarized debate is easy to find here. But there is an important difference: the alignments are not the same. Crudely put, the knockers of authenticity are frequently on the right, those of technology on the left. More pertinently, some (but not all) of those who are critical of the ethic of self-fulfillment are great supporters of technological development, while many of those who are deeply into the contemporary culture of authenticity share the views about patriarchy and aboriginal styles of life I just adverted to. These cross alignments even lead to some troubling contradictions. Right-wing American-style conservatives speak as advocates of traditional communities when they attack abortion on demand and pornography; but in their economic policies they advocate an untamed form of capitalist enterprise, which more than anything else has helped to dissolve historical communities, has fostered atomism, which knows no frontiers or loyalties, and is ready to close down a mining town or savage a forest habitat at the drop of a balance sheet. On the other side, we find supporters of an attentive, reverential stance to nature, who would go to the wall to defend the forest habitat, demonstrating in favor of abortion on demand, on the grounds that a woman’s body belongs exclusively to her. Some adversaries of savage capitalism carry possessive individualism farther than its most untroubled defenders.
It is only a matter of time before the great realignment comes given the intra-party contradictions along a much wider list of fundamental issues than the two given here. These positions are incoherent. Whether we like it or not, even if it injures the electorates desperately felt need for security even if that means only the return of the same, the great realignment will come.
And please, spare me the reductio ad Hitlerum in the combox.
Don’t be clowns and don’t get clowned.
My thanks go out to Cynthia Have of The Book Haven for the clown analogy.
To close things out here’s a video from my friend, Seattle’s very own, the great Robert Deeble.
And remember: This is How Corrupt Our Political System Is
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I confess to stealing “the contradictions inherent in the system” from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: