Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Four Words Hillary Clinton Needs To Say Next Week

I am not planning on saying much about the RNC, because to compare it to a dumpster fire is an insult to dumpster fires. Plus, plenty of other people are lending their two cents about it.

No, I want to look forward to next week's DNC. Clinton and the Democrats have been handed a tremendous opportunity to make their case after four days of Republican disaster in Cleveland. The own goals scored this week by Trump will likely tempt the Clinton camp to elect to poach Republican voters rather than energize their base. Considering the levels of dislike within her own party, such a move would only make divisions within the Democrats much worse. Failing to cultivate the base of her own party is the surest way for Clinton to lose the election.

There are four simple words she needs to say to the supporters of Bernie Sanders at the convention: "I have heard you." She must acknowledge the issues that matter to them and the others in the base (like me) who voted for her but want action on progressive issues like economic inequality, financial regulation, college affordability, and racist policing. If the Democrats get out the vote, they will win this election handily. I will go to the polls if only to stop Trump, but many on the left require more motivation than that. Jill Stein is currently polling at five percent, those voters could decide the election.

I fear however that Clinton, like an old boxer in a tough fight, will fall back on her old style and training. In the 90s Bill Clinton maintained power after getting crushed in the 1994 midterm by employing a triangulation strategy. He sat in the political center, stealing some ideas from the right like welfare reform, then using it to show voters that he was not beholden to the left. That bullshit is why I voted third party in 1996. Why would I vote for a candidate who didn't seem to give a shit about what his base wanted?

The election of 2000 shocked me out of protest voting, but I can't say I don't understand where it comes from. I think the Bernie or Bust crowd needs to swallow their pride in the face of a horrific and unprecedented threat like Trump, as difficult as that might be. However, there is no way that Clinton can expect those voters to do that without offering a way for them to save face or to ensure that she will actually represent their interests. So she too needs to swallow her pride in the face of an unprecedented threat. Beyond that, she needs to run a campaign that actually incorporates the ideas that animated the Sanders movement, and not just to pay lip service. Failure to do so could invite disaster.


N8 said...

well, the first step would be not to pick Tim Kaine or some other non-progressive type to be her running mate. It's difficult to know whom to pick, as most of the decent progressives (Warren, Brown) are from states with Republican governors. Jeff Merkley? The Bernie or Busters will have a hard time swallowing two corporate democrats.

Werner Herzog's Bear said...

Taking Warren out of the Senate for a worthless veep job would be a crime, but then, as you say, the other options aren't that satisfactory.

Buddy said...

MSNBC: Al Franken: Expect positive message, vision at DNC -

Senator Al Franken talks about how the Democratic National Convention will contrast with the Republican National Convention and why he's confident in how Hillary Clinton will perform as president of the United States.