Democrats In Disarray As Convention Nears
It’s been 16 days since the Associated Press declared Hillary Clinton the presumptive Democratic nominee.Once the call was made, Clinton’s campaign probably presumed that some measure of unity between them and the Sanders faction would have been achieved more than two weeks later. They presumed wrong. The Democratic Party is just as divided today as it was when Sanders was still actively contesting the nomination.
Most worrying for Clinton, even more so than Sanders showing no sign of endorsing the former Secretary of State, is a Bloomberg story entitled “Nearly Half of Sanders Supporters Won’t Support Clinton,” according to the results of a June Bloomberg poll:
“A June 14th Bloomberg Politics national poll of likely voters in November’s election found that barely half of those who favored Sanders — 55 percent — plan to vote for Clinton. Instead, 22 percent say they’ll vote for Trump, while 18 percent favor Libertarian Gary Johnson.”
The story is littered throughout with quotes from Sanders supporters saying they will never vote for Clinton because she’s been “corrupted by the ways of Washington”:
“Conversations with two dozen Sanders supporters revealed a lingering distrust of Clinton as too establishment-friendly, hawkish or untrustworthy. As some Sanders fans see it, the primary was not a simple preference for purity over pragmatism, but a moral choice between an honest figure and someone whom they consider fundamentally corrupted by the ways of Washington. Sanders has fed these perceptions throughout his campaign, which is one reason he’s having a hard time coming around to an endorsement.”
If the Clinton campaign was hoping the Democratic National Convention would offer a chance to heal the divide found in the Bloomberg story, a new report from CNN on the protests planned by Sanders supporters in Philadelphia should give them pause. The Sanders activists planning the protests view the convention as “a $50 million infomercial,” and the primary as having been “corrupt,” so they have no problem disrupting the party:
“‘If the Democratic Party wants to put on a $50 million infomercial saying, ‘Hey vote for us,’ without committing to make this the last corrupt, billionaire-nominated voter suppression-marred election, then we’re going to crash the party,’ said Kai Newkirk, the director of Democracy Spring, an activist coalition dedicated to ‘mass nonviolent action’ against big money in politics.'”
While another Sanders activist, instead of viewing the convention as the end of the campaign, says it’s only the “next step in the Sanders movement”:
“Kim Huynh, who helped lead the workshop, told CNN she views the convention as ‘the next step’ in the Sanders movement, a means for harnessing and ‘pushing forward all of this energy around the Bernie campaign.'”
Finally, if the actions of establishment New York Democrats are a preview for the convention in Philadelphia, Sanders supporters will have plenty of grievances to protest. This week Sanders’ New York delegates wanted to offer an alternative state chairman to Clinton supporter Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), yet were denied that option:
“Party lawyer Michael Reich, presiding over the nomination, cut off debate before Sanders delegates could submit candidates other than Cuomo. Sanders delegates booed, yelled and raised their hands to submit alternatives, but they were not recognized and the microphone at the front of the room was cut off.”
The conflict in New York become so heated the police were involved after a Clinton delegate hit a Sanders delegate with a cane:
“Sanders delegate Moumit Ahmed of Jamaica, Queens, even filed a police complaint after a Hillary Clinton delegate, an elderly, bearded man with a cane, hit her from behind, she said. When she confronted him, he allegedly hit her again with his cane. ‘He assaulted me!’ Ahmed said.”
Just a guess, but the caning of one’s political opponents is usually not the finally step before full political reconciliation. 160 years after the most famous caning in American history, we can certainly expect that the Clinton-Sanders civil war will not end anytime soon.