Press: You Can’t Blame Bernie
Although many on the left are blaming Bernie Sanders in some degree for Hillary Clinton’s loss this November, others, like Bill Press, are responding to these allegations by defending Sanders.
The Hill reports:
The election’s over. Republicans won everything. Democrats lost everything. So now’s the time for all Democrats, both Hillary Clinton supporters and Bernie Sanders supporters, to get together and figure out how to rebuild the Democratic Party in order to win again in 2018.
Right? Absolutely. That’s what should be going on. But that’s not what’s happening. Why? Because too many Clinton supporters are busy blaming everybody but themselves for their colossal loss.
Most disturbing and offensive are those Clinton supporters — notably not Clinton herself — who are trying to lay all the blame on Sanders. Especially loudmouth Peter Daou, head of Shareblue, who, in the true spirit of Donald Trump, tweeted out: “I’ll be crystal clear: Bernie Sanders has absolutely no business determining the course of the Democratic Party after the harm he did to us.”
Not content with one nuclear attack, he followed up with: “Until certain Dems get over the denial of how badly Bernie damaged Hillary’s public image, we will make little progress as a party.”
To which I call, “B.S.” That is, indeed, total, inflammatory nonsense. It’s based on the premise that the Democratic Party would have been better off if nobody had challenged Clinton in the primaries, if we’d had a coronation, not a contest. Imagine how boring that would have been.
It also ignores the reality of what happened in the primaries. Sanders didn’t “damage” Clinton’s public image. In fact, remember, he rejected his own staff’s recommendation by refusing to make an issue of her use of a private email server, which turned out to be the one issue that hurt her the most.
Nor did Sanders “harm” the Democratic Party. He actually helped both Clinton and the Democratic Party by stirring up new excitement in the primaries, bringing millions of young people into the party and making Clinton a stronger, more progressive candidate. Without him, for example, Clinton would never have opposed the Keystone XL pipeline or the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
And in the general campaign, nobody, with the exception of husband Bill Clinton, worked harder or traveled more widely on Hillary Clinton’s behalf than Sanders. At every rally, his message was unequivocal: Trump was too dangerous to entrust with the presidency, and there was too much at stake to waste a vote on Gary Johnson or Jill Stein; progressives must vote for Hillary Clinton. If, in the end, some of them, especially many millennials, did not, it’s not Sanders’s fault.
This is a critical time for the Democratic Party. Time for the party to do, as Sanders has suggested, what Republicans did after their wipeout in 2012: forget past differences. Pull together. Figure out what went wrong. And completely retool the party with new leadership, a new direction, new message and winning strategy for 2018.
Yes, the Democratic Party can rebuild. But it will never do so until the Clinton campaign first takes responsibility for losing this election all by itslef — and stops blaming Bernie Sanders.
Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down.”
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr.