So, here we are…
We know you thought Bernie’s supporters were just a bunch of crazy zealots looking for a conspiracy. We also know you ignored O’Malley when he claimed that you were fixing the Primary run for your favorite girl. You said it was all a bunch of hooey (I’m paraphrasing, of course)
We also know that you’ve been lining up your ducks for Hillary’s next Presidential run since Obama stole the show eight years ago. There’s no way you were going to let that happens again. And at first you saw Bernie as some message candidate, a fringe wackjob with hair like Christopher Lloyd on Back To The Future. But then all of a sudden he was getting 30,000 people at his events it was too late, and it wasn’t a joke.
But a funny thing happened, the fact that he was getting YUGE numbers at his events didn’t really make it to the mainstream news. For that matter neither did the fact that massive amounts of young and first time voters were flocking to his events. Sanders supporters started claiming that somehow the fact that many of Hillary’s biggest donors also were huge media outlets might have something do with this funny little omission.
This is when things started to get messy. Bernie’s supporters got labeled as tin foil hat wearering paranoids, and then the whole Bernie Bros label emerged. Calls of voter suppression were thrown out left and right, and it looked like the DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz were colluding with the Clinton Campaign to marginalize the other Democratic candidates. Crazy talk! Soon the Sanders supporters were saying they wouldn’t vote for someone who stole the nomination from the inside of a rigged system. They were just being poor losers, raving their tinfoil hat talk, right?
So began the calls to heal the party, and unify the voters against a possible Trump presidency. How crazy can those Bernie Bros be?! Don’t they understand how stupid it would be to hold their imaginary grudge to the point of letting Donald Trump win the White House?! And so the trick was to get Bernie himself to support Hillary. Once that was over with, the slow work would be regaining the trust of the voters.
Except now we see they weren’t crazy. The DNC and Wasserman Schultz did manipulate the party for one candidate, disregarding its own charter, let cronyism reign and destroyed the trust of a huge swath of voters in the process.
As the fallout begins and the pending convention looms like a specter just around the corner, damage control is kicking in to high gear. As I write this the news is leaking that Debbie Wasserman Schultz will step down as the party chair only days before the convention. But is it too late? Is the damage done?
The party will likely still nominate Hillary, but like Barry Bonds steroid tainted record home run ball, will the nomination carry a scarlet asterisk with it forever more?
And what about the supporters of Bernie Sanders who swore that the Bernie or Bust movement was not about being sore losers, but was instead about the loss of integrity in the system and the missed opportunity to have a president of real character. They were refusing to vote for Hillary because they thought they had been cheated. Now that we know that they really have been, what now?
Even threatening them with a Trump presidency doesn’t answer the questions that remain. If the party doesn’t unify around a candidate where can we lay all that blame? The statement that Hillary just plain got more votes, fair and square, is proven not to be true now. Can you blame someone who refuses to vote for, and by doing so, support a party, and a system that purposely sabotaged the process?
And if Donald Trump wins now, can you really blame the people who were voting for honesty and integrity all along, only to find out that there really isn’t a Santa Claus, and now might choose to sit this one out?
I really do believe that a Trump presidency would be a disaster, but I also know that there are millions of people out there right now who honestly don’t know what to do because they feel that even voting against Trump is still somehow saying that the methods the DNC used were justified, if a little misguided. For a lot of people it’s just not going to happen.
There’s an opportunity here for you DNC. You can use this for good, or you can try to mitigate the damage, but you can’t do both.
DNC, please take a moment to think about this. There’s really only one good response. It’ll be a big bite of humble pie, but if you do it right you still have a chance. If not, you’ve lost the right to blame the Bernie or Bust folks or the Bernie Bros, so don’t even try.