Littwin: Trump overshadows the Sanders-Clinton feud

Democrats are freaking out, which sounds about right. They were freaking out at exactly this time eight years ago.

You remember. Hillary Clinton was on the losing side then, and recriminations were running high. Clintonistas wouldn’t vote for Barack Obama. Latinos wouldn’t vote for Obama. Women wouldn’t vote for Obama.

Except that they all did, and everyone lived happily ever after, if you can call the last eight years in any way happy.

In any case, this year it’s Bernie who’s losing. And it’s the Bernie supporters who say they won’t vote for Clinton or for any Democrat basically because the system is rigged and Clinton is a Wall Street tool and Nevada convention officials called for a voice vote when a roll call would have been so much fairer.

OK, history doesn’t really repeat, although, as the saying goes, it does rhyme. And I’m going to pretty much guarantee – which is short of a guarantee, but it’s in Nate Silver’s 90 percent range — that these divisions, as ugly as they are, will heal.

Because Donald Trump is uglier. Much uglier. And I don’t mean his looks. I mean him. The ugliness of Donald Trump allows for only one result — the saner half of America will have to unite to forcibly reject him.

I have faith in the American people, by which I mean I have faith in about 55 percent of them. I’ve lost the other group, which not only nominated Trump but which, according to latest polls, seems ready to embrace him. According to The New York Times/CBS News poll, 67 percent of Republicans think Trump represents their values and 62 percent find him honest and trustworthy even though, by my count, he’s at least 94 percent con man.

In 2008, Clinton did bow out gracefully at the very end and even nominated Obama at the convention. And her supporters followed, even though she didn’t have the same kind of pull with hers that Sanders does with his and even though the opponent was John McCain and not Donald Trump.

The Bernie-ites began as a cult and have morphed into a religion, which isn’t to say they’ll follow Sanders everywhere, but most — because what choice do they have? — will not go to Trump, not when Sanders is saying he’s probably the most dangerous person ever to get this close to the presidency. I don’t expect Bernie to look happy supporting Clinton. And I doubt you’ll see a real truce soon. But Sanders will be out there hammering Trump and he won’t be alone. So will Obama. So will Elizabeth Warren. So will everyone but Tim Robbins (I’m thinking even Susan Sarandon will come around).

In fact, the biggest danger is not that Democrats will fracture in the end, but that they’re fracturing now, which leaves Bernie, I’m afraid, looking very much like a sore loser at the same time he has pulled a magnificent victory.

Sanders’ near victory represents the biggest push by the Democratic left since McGovern, and the great news is that won’t end in a McGovernite disaster.

People, even smart people, are saying that this campaign will redefine the Democratic Party, which is overwhelmingly young and overwhelmingly minority (and, yes, even those minority voters who completely resisted Bernie’s charms will almost certainly be open to his message).

Real change has happened, but real change is not throwing chairs onto the stage in Las Vegas or Tweeting the ugliest kind of misogynistic garbage at the Nevada Democratic chair. That’s Trump-like goonery. And where Sanders made a huge mistake was in not forcefully condemning the behavior, which led one pundit to call the Sanders movement the Sour Grapes Revolution.

I’m guessing Sanders will stay until the end of the campaign — as Clinton did before him. But that won’t be the last act. I’m guessing Democrats will concede him a bunch of stuff in the platform. I’m guessing he’ll get a prime-time speech. I’m guessing Sanders, as angry as he might be at slights perceived and otherwise, has to care about his own legacy and, more to the point, the success of his campaign. He’s not going to win the nomination. And he’s not going to overthrow the Democratic Party. If he wants to reform the party, though, he can’t afford to lose the non-Bernie reformist wing.

The real danger in this campaign, as I’ve written before, is that the Trump candidacy will come to be considered normal and not a historical anomaly that will haunt the Republican party for a generation. We’re already seeing it happen on the Republican side, even if the intellectual right is still resisting and even if suburban women are almost certain to desert the party in November.

But how the country responds does depend, in part, on what Sanders and his supporters do. You can call Trump a demagogue, a xenophobe, a misogynist, a bigot, a sexist, an authoritarian, a boor, a  crypto-fascist and the least-prepared person ever to be nominated by a major party, but, in the end, it’s just a list of words.

We hear in each presidential campaign that this year’s election is the most important of our lifetimes — and we’ve heard it so often that no one believes it anymore. And why should they?

Except this time is different. And not just because the stakes are high, because, let’s be honest, the stakes are always high.

This time is different because Donald Trump is different, and he’s so hugely different that the Democratic feud looks very small.

 

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons, Flickr

4 COMMENTS

  1. It looks again like the previous 7 elections that we, the people, will have to vote for the LEAST objectionable person. I hasten to call them candidates as neither is qualified to be president of the USA.
    #neverhillbillary

  2. Mike, Have you seen any video of anyone throwing a single chair (let alone chairs) onto the stage at the Nevada convention. Have you read a single eye witness report of someone who claims to have seen this event which is now taken as fact and faith by the Democratic establishment.

  3. You are comparing “now” to the Clinton versus Obama fight a wee while ago.
    Unfortunately, it is far more similar to Nader versus Gore a bit further back: and we know how badly that turned out.

  4. Elections have consequences.

    “Hiding news that doesn’t fit an ideological or a partisan agenda is perhaps the worst form of media bias. And it’s one more reason the public holds the press is such low esteem.” – Investor’s Business Daily

    “(Mr. Trump) won’t be president. He was sliding in the polls before the video, and the video now means that he has no way to climb back. Which independent voter, which suburban woman, which Main Street Republican on the fence is going to vote for Trump now?” – Mike Littwin

    Magical thinking: The belief that one’s own thoughts, wishes, or desires can influence the external world. It is common in very young children. – Radiotherapy

    President Trump 306 Electoral votes
    Hillary Clinton 232

    #droptheMike

    }{

    Mr. Littwin—and this should surprise no one—-is still mad as hell and this time his ire is aimed at the Supreme Court. Not only did the Supremes decide in favor of the Colorado cake baker but the vote was 7-2 meaning, as Mr. Littwin pointed out, “that two of the four liberal justices, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer, agreed (with) the court’s ruling on religious hostility”.

    This was doubly disturbing for Mr. Littwin because it exposed not only how far out of touch he is with those who share his political views but how far out of touch he is with the highest court in the land. What the Supreme Court described as “sincere religious beliefs” Mr. Littwin labeled “bigotry”. You can’t get much further apart than that.

    But Mr. Littwin’s political tone deafness didn’t occur overnight, it started two years ago when Mr. Littwin wrote this gem: “(Mr. Trump) won’t be president. He was sliding in the polls before the video, and the video now means that he has no way to climb back. Which independent voter, which suburban woman, which Main Street Republican on the fence is going to vote for Trump now?”

    Mr. Littwin never tired of being wrong.

    That statement was, of course, not the only time Mr. Littwin went off the verbal rails. Here’s another one of his countless hyperventilating descriptions of President Trump: “a demagogue, a xenophobe, a misogynist, a bigot, a sexist, an authoritarian, a boor, a crypto-fascist and the least-prepared person ever to be nominated by a major party”

    But what Mr. Littwin has failed to explain is how “a demagogue, a xenophobe, a misogynist, a bigot, a sexist, an authoritarian, a boor, a crypto-fascist and the least-prepared person ever to be nominated by a major party” was able to defeat Hillary Clinton in what many have called the greatest upset in the history of American politics. Final score: 306 to 232.

    And since Mr. Littwin and the Supreme Court disagree so wildly on the meaning of the word “bigotry” you wonder how Mr. Littwin feels about the c-word.

    Last week on her TBS show “Full Frontal” comedian Samantha Bee said, “You know, Ivanka (Trump), that’s a beautiful photo of you and your child, but let me just say, one mother to another, do something about your dad’s immigration practices, you feckless c***!He listens to you, put on something tight and low-cut and tell your father to f***ing stop it. Tell him it was an Obama thing and see how it goes, OK?”

    White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Bee’s language was “vile and vicious.”

    But former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart was one of many who defended Ms. Bee.

    What does Mr. Littwin think? Is the use of the c-word ever defensible? Or does it depend on who is using the word? That answer would be interesting or at least amusing.

    November 08, 2016

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Flags of Valor
    Folds of Honor
    Special Operations Warriors Foundation

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