I often say that I hope the Democratic Party learned a large lesson in 2016 and won’t ever run another independent under the Democratic gonfalon. The decision to allow an independent to run as a Democrat was, in my estimation, a large factor in Trump’s win. It was disasterous. Bernie went rogue. He wouldn’t concede and spent his last months in the campaign shitting all over the Democratic Party and its presumptive nominee.
Case in point, from an in-progress timeline project of mine:
June 7, 2016: Hillary Clinton officially secures a majority of pledged delegates after winning in the California and New Jersey primaries. She wins 254 pledged delegates.
At this point, Clinton has won 2,310 delegates, 73 delegates shy of the nomination. Sanders trails her by more than 700 delegates.
Sanders marks the occasion by shitting all over the Democratic Party.
“The message to the Democratic leadership is that if the Democratic Party is to be the party of working people and young people and the middle class, they’ve got to open up the doors,” said Sanders, noting the strong support he’s received from young adults. “You are the future of this country … and the Democratic Party has got to be a party that is more than its candidates going to wealthy peoples’ homes to raise outrageous sums of money.”
However, I have struck upon a more crystalized argument for the Democrats to steer away from Sanders and independents in general: Sanders, and independents generally, are uniquely motivated to strong-arm state parties away from closed primaries.
As Sanders did.
Here’s what Sanders had to say about our closed primary in New York in April 2016:
“Today, three million people in the state of New York who are Independents have lost their right to vote in the Democratic and Republican primaries,” Mr. Sanders said standing alongside Mr. Cantalupo. “That’s wrong. You’re paying for this election. It’s administered by the state. You have a right to vote. That’s a very unfortunate thing which I hope will change.”
Such nonsense. Those voters didn’t lose any rights. They chose not to register with their candidate’s party in a state that regularly holds closed primaries.
Here he is in May, buoyed by an upset in Indiana (despite this win on May 3, Sanders is trailing by 300 pledged delegates, and only four more contests would include independent voters):
“More and more people are independents, and I think it makes no sense for the Democrats to say to those people, ‘You can’t help us.’ For Democrats to do well in a national election, they’re going to need a lot of independents and I would not think it’s a good idea to push those people away.”
Who is pushing any voters away? My Granny G was never a Republican, but she registered as one for years so she could vote for her local school board. If your candidate is running as a Democrat and you know your state has closed primaries, perhaps you should march over to the Board of Elections and alter your party affiliation for a while, hmmmmm?
So strongly did Sanders feel about closed primaries that he included it in the list of demands he was carting under his arm to Philadelphia. But, as this Real Clear Politics piece underscores, closed primaries were not likely Sanders’ most consequential problem.
Though he sure did squawk about it a lot.
I like closed primaries. It’s one thing I like about living in New York. I like the assurance that a bunch of Republigoats aren’t going to come in to my primary and vote in Daniel Carver to run as the nominee. So I am not fond of hearing from a national candidate for preznit that he wants to tell my state it’s wrong for how it runs its elections. But when you run an independent as a Democrat, that is inevitable.
And all that was accomplished by Sanders making that argument was to throw more shade onto the process itself–shade that, for the record, stuck around for the general and helped President Moron get elected.
Another Sanders run under the Democratic mantle? Ghey kakken offen yahm.
In Other News
“In Watergate, they said the coverup was worse than the crime. In this ONE, it feels like the coverup WON’T STOP!” (Rachel Maddow)