Some advice for Clintonites: lay off Sanders

Donald Trump smilesIf I feel sick to my stomach at the thought that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Grand Old Party, I can’t fathom how I will feel on the morning of November 9 if he is the President-elect of the United States. This just can’t be. How can so many millions of people be drawn to this angry, amoral, nativist, misogynist, pathologically narcissistic,  racist, shallow – indeed, outrageously ignorant when it comes to matters of policy – crude, contemptuous and contemptible man.  And that’s just for starters.

Surely Hillary Clinton should be able to beat him in November. Yet, if there’s any lesson from the bizarre primary season, it’s not to underestimate the appeal of Donald Trump to a wide swath of American voters.

Trump has been incredibly astute  at reading the screw-you anger of the electorate and diabolically skillful at manipulating the media. Add to that the cringe-worthy infatuation of the public with celebrities, and you have the possibility of disaster in November.

Both presumptive nominees are disliked by a majority of the people.    Hillary Clinton is viewed only slightly (five percent) less unfavorably than Trump.  She has her work cut out for her.  As the presumptive Democratic nominee, she is now running against Trump, rather than against Bernie Sanders. My advice to Hillary? Keep doing that, but shut your mouth about how Bernie should follow Cruz and Kasich, accept the inevitable and suspend his campaign.  Understand that Sanders rightly knows that the millions who have supported his crusade want to feel the Bern right through the last primary in California, to know their voices will be represented at the nominating convention in Philadelphia, including the party platform.  They want to be sure that his ideas, which have already shaped the primary dialogue and made a better candidate of Hillary, will not simply float out into the ether.

She can’t continue to alienate Sanders supporters because she needs them in November. Many Sanders supporters angry about the “rigged system” are animated by a similar anti-establishment appeal that draws supporters to Trump. The Donald will surely be courting Sanders voters, especially in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.  That’s his best path to the Presidency. His opposition to trade deals that ship jobs overseas, his animosity toward immigrants who take jobs, could play well there. For other Sanders supporters who can’t abide Trump’s personal qualities but can’t stand Hillary either, Clinton needs them not to stay home – or, worse, to become Trump Democrats or Independents – on November 8. Clinton needs them, and so do we.

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6 thoughts on “Some advice for Clintonites: lay off Sanders

  1. Michael Fondacaro

    The Clinton campaign had treated Sanders with kid gloves, in the very realization that she will need them, compared to what the Republicans would have done to him if he were the nominee, which was never to be the case. The numbers and makeup of core Democratic constituents were never close to being in his favor to begin with. Aside from that, a campaign focused on “free health care, free income, income inequality, bad banks, revolution and momentum” may seduce young people and white liberals, but was never going to gain much traction outside of that. Make no mistake, the GOP wanted Sanders instead of Hillary, as it would have defined him in a way that would have shocked the late Lee Atwater.


  2. Claudia Schwartz

    Wonderfully said. And how about Baker’s announcement that he won’t vote for either of them. Bad message to the public.

    Sent from my iPhone



  3. Arthur J. Singer

    Thanks for another great column. It would be easier for me to feel more positive toward Sanders, if he acted like a statesman instead of a naive egotistical newcomer who’s fascinated with the national recognition he has received. I believe Boston Globe staffer Annie Linsky got this right saying that by staying in instead of dropping out. “(His) stubborness…is a gift to Trump..”Walking -dead zombie candidates can’t win…but they can still damage the prohibitive front-runner for the general election and hurt the party… dragging out the contest,” says a Democratic strategist . For me, Sanders belief that his campaign has energized millions of voters who will vote Democratic in November is pure egotism on his part. They may just stay home.


    1. alexis soule

      I think Bernie Sanders is right to stay in the campaign– it ain’t over til it’s over. A quarter of the country still gets to say who– or, more properly, which ideas– they prefer. While there is not much chance that Bernie will get enough pledged delegates to win the nomination, there is also a good chance that HRC will also NOT get enough PLEDGED (i.e., elected) delegates either.
      If the only way either one can win is by the votes of the Unelected (super) delegates, perhaps those super delegates should consider who is the stronger candidate against Trump. Today’s NBC poll says: “…. in a hypothetical match-up against Donald Trump, Sanders does much better than the current Democratic front-runner.” And there are multiple other polls that say the same thing. In each one, Sanders beats Trump, by much larger margins than Clinton vs. Trump. Who is the strongest candidate in a general election?
      Most Sanders supporters will support HRC in a general election if she is the party’s nominee, (we are constantly asked that) but Clinton supporters need to be asked the same thing– will they support Sanders if he is the nominee?
      The really disappointing thing is that the national Democratic Party is even stacking all the Convention Platform Committees with anti-Sanders people. Many of those of us who support Sanders do so because we feel it is too late for half-measures. Climate change won’t wait. And we have suffered long enough with the stagnating wages, collapsing infrastructure and reduced services which have become the ‘new normal’ as the Democratic leadership has moved further and further to the right.
      I understand the frustration and impatience of many of the Marbleheaders for Bernie Sanders– and nationwide Sanders supporters– that they will not vote for Clinton– but I do not feel that way. There are enough points of agreement; and the Republican alternatives are so onerous (Trump perhaps no worse than the rest of the theocratic, misogynistic pack– they all want to close Planned Parenthood, the major provider of healthcare for women), that I will, if necessary, vote for her.


  4. Always enjoy your commentary :). Across the seas here in Australia, we find your entire election pageant mystifying at the best of times. But the fact that anybody – let alone millions of anybodys – can support Mr Trump is simply unfathomable. I’m with you – the thought of waking up to find Mr Trump was my national leader makes my stomach feel funny.


  5. Hop Holmberg

    Right on!

    Hillary needs to hang on to Bernie and her staff (like Podesta) need to stop their dysfunctional comments about Bernie.

    The general election is hers to lose and some days it seems her campaign is trying hard to lose to Trump.


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