The United Blue States of America

Democratic Debate review, and how Bernie has to govern everyone

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The democratic race is practically over. Clinton is 7% ahead of being on track in the pledged delegates count, and Sanders is 7% behind being on track according to FiveThirtyEight’s projections. Add in the unpledged super delegates, and Clinton has an overall lead of 649 delegates. It’s pretty much impossible for Sanders to win, especially since Clinton is basically guaranteed to win his home state tomorrow night.

But if you watched the Democratic Debate Thursday night, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the race is a dead heat. In the nastiest debate yet, Sanders and Clinton went at it like the Republicans do. At times it looked like they were about to get in a fist fight.

And when Hillary should already have this all wrapped up, Bernie just kept fighting back.

He hit her on her support for a $12 or $15 minimum wage. And he hit her again on the transcripts.

But Hillary pushed back presidentially.

She hit Bernie on guns and had a comeback on Iraq.

She asked for his tax returns and powerfully reminded America about how he had sought to minimize the issue of abortion.

And she found an excellent new sound bite: “It’s easy to diagnose the problem. It’s harder to do something about the problem.”

After I wrote the review of the night above, I spent a few days thinking about what part of the debate I wanted to write about. Nothing above was particularly new.

Yeah there was minimum wage, but Hillary just made it too complicated for herself. All she had to say was that not all cities have the same purchasing power, so she supports a national $12 or higher minimum wage, and also supports cities like New York, LA, Seattle, and DC going higher to 15 to account for the lower purchasing power of $1. With the issue this simple, there wasn’t much of a reason to devote a whole post to it.

And there was the new soundbite, but I pretty much already wrote about Bernie’s idealism and Hillary’s pragmatism. So no reason to rehash that.

But there was one part that Bernie had used a few times before, but really trotted out at the debate to great applause. He said:

“Look, let me acknowledge what is absolutely true: Secretary Clinton cleaned our clock in the Deep South, no question about it. We got murdered there. That is the most conservative part of this great country. That’s the fact. But you know what, we’re out of the Deep South now. And we’re moving up. We got here, we’re going to California, we got a number of large states there. And having won 7 out of the last 8 caucuses and primaries, having a level of excitement and energy among working people and low-income people doing better.”

There are several things that are concerning about this argument:

  1. Sanders has won states which vote for Republicans in the general election

2. Sanders is writing off minority voters once again

3. Sanders is ignoring part of the county he would have to govern if elected

So for the first concern. Bernie states that winning conservative states shouldn’t count. Well, if he’s not counting Hillary’s red state wins, then why should we count his red state wins?

Bernie has won 6 states that have always voted for the Republican candidate in the Electoral College over the past six elections: Alaska, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.

Clinton, on the other hand, has only won four states which never voted for a Democrat: Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas.

And Hillary would still have a 120 pledged delegate lead going into New York, if the states that always voted Republican were excluded.

Bernie doesn’t care if he’s won conservative states. What he cares about is momentum, and trying to pull out a miracle and win the nomination.

But he didn’t say red states shouldn’t matter, he said the South shouldn’t matter.

Which presents a whole new problem, because now he’s simply dismissing the black voters that didn’t support him.

Because for every Deep South state Hillary won, she won with resounding majorities of the black vote.

But why should a politician care about voters that don’t vote for him? He’s the politician that is aiming to advocate for the 99%, so why doesn’t it include black voters?

Sanders meant nothing less when he said the Deep South shouldn’t matter. All he needed to win the states he won was just the white voters. No one else. No minorities.

To win the general election in November, the Democratic nominee will have to pull high margins of minorities. Sanders just can’t win on the backs of the white voters in the general. He’s not setting himself up well for it with so much hate for the black south.

And this isn’t just electoral math. Sanders supporter actor Tim Robbins said:

“After the Southern primaries, you had called the election. And who’s fooling who? Winning South Carolina in the Democratic primary is about as significant as winning Guam. No Democrat is going to win South Carolina in the general election. Why do these victories have so much significance?”

Bernie has settled on the idea that he can win with whites, which is problematic enough. Democrats would decry Republicans for their hope to win the presidency with only white voters, so why is Bernie’s hope any different?

And then Bernie goes on to dismiss a whole portion of the country which contains many Democrats and he will have to govern. The Democratic Party is a party of the whole nation, not a regional party that excludes the south.

Bernie Sanders isn’t running for President of the United Northeast, Midwest, and West States of America. And he’s not running for President of the United Liberal States of America. If Bernie will be a President which only looks to govern his supporters and doesn’t govern for everyone, that would be astonishing and unparalleled.

This idea is played out in The West Wing when the President is running for reelection. On Election Day, campaign staff are readying the party, and one of them says they’re going to have signs and banners with the President’s name. And Sam, the speechwriter, says:

“The partisanship’s over. We elected a President. This is for everybody. No banners tonight; the American flag.”

No matter which party the President is from, what states they win, or what demographic makes up their base, they have to govern for everyone.

It’s the President of the United States. Not the Red States or Blue States.