. Arizona, Videos, and the Slacktivism They Inspire

Ah, another day, another controversy. And, this is why we can’t have nice things. The basic plot line of the Democratic primary season has gone thusly: Conspiracy by HRC and the DNC, backlash from the “Bernie bots,” conspiracy by HRC and the DNC, backlash from the “Bernie bots,” etc., in a never-ending cycle. The accusations are too numerous to list here, and, in any case, that is not the purpose of this note. If you know anything about it, then you basically know the list, as well as the general narrative by the Clinton supporters that Bernie supporters are a bunch of paranoid whiners. Personally, I think there is enough data to objectively support a good number of the concerns, but I also think a fair number of Bernie supporters have been knee-jerk enough that at the very point in the process where we really need people to listen to our concerns, we may well have worn out our welcome, and that is what I am writing about today.

In the past week or so, we have spent an inordinate amount of time and energy bitching, moaning, and speculating on two main issues-the Niko videos and the Arizona primary. Both controversies are important, worth follow up, and have merit. They have, however, taken precious time away from where our focus should be.

First-the video series. As I said, the videos have merit. Many volunteers from many states have voiced similar kinds of concerns. Those volunteers with direct knowledge, whose primaries and caucuses are in the past, have, and should continue to, debrief and share their experiences so that the remaining states can learn from missteps and be more effective. But, let’s think about the methods for a minute. Airing our dirty laundry, so to speak, does not strengthen our candidate’s standing in the eyes of prospective voters. However, I can chalk that up to youth, impetuousness, etc. What I do question, is the fact that I know that he was reached out to and offered a chance to collaborate with other grassroots volunteers who had already had conversations with national campaign staff and he did not reply. His videos have only gotten more vitriolic towards Ms. Dew, and do not seem to be about problem solving, but personal at this point. How does this help the campaign? Basically, she switched teams. That happens all the time in politics. All the time. So did Peyton Manning. Did people question whether he was “really” a Bronco once he did? Now, as to all the other allegations, I can’t say what she did or didn’t do, or why, but it is possible that he may not know the whole story. The state directors do answer to other people higher up, and they make all kinds of decisions that we are not privy to. And, if we are publicly questioning Bernie’s staff and their decisions, then aren’t we, in effect, saying we don’t trust Bernie’s judgment? I think we are. We need to carefully consider our words and actions before we blast things out on social media.

Arizona-first a caveat-do not think for one second that anything I say here means that I do not think that Arizona was a disaster. It quite plainly was. There is no way around that. But, here are a few things that I have not heard anyone mention or consider-the recorder in Maricopa County is a Republican. Generally speaking, I don’t find many Republican Clinton operatives, but maybe that’s just the way it is in my neck of the woods. Also, all of the “glitches” in the voter registrations of the people who had changed their party affiliation seem to have been with Democrats. Now, don’t you think that in that bunch there were quite a few people who voted for Clinton? Yeah, I suppose it’s within the realm of possibility that Clinton paid of the recorders across the state and also has a psychic on her staff that made sure that only Bernie supporters were changed in the system, but…I think it’s much more likely that the Republican Party took full advantage of the SCOTUS decision gutting the Voting Rights Act. And, rather predictably, Bernie supporters jumped right in with screams of “Clinton conspiracy” before even having all the facts or considering them. And then all day today, social media has beaten this half to death. And every person who spent hours reading and commenting on this one did not spend hours phone banking or otherwise engaging in any other type of direct voter contact or action for the upcoming primaries or caucuses. So, regardless of whether Clinton was behind any of the mess in Arizona, you who spent the day discussing played right into her hands-doing less to help Bernie and more to help her win the nomination. And, you don’t even live in Arizona. And, for those of you “demanding” the staff do this or that? Do you honestly think they don’t know? They know. They have computers and smartphones, and even wi-fi. They know. They will do what they deem is best. We might not like it. But we are not Bernie’s campaign manager. Either support your candidate or don’t. But if you go on social media and question the actions of his staff and him, then you are not doing him any favors. We are absolutely in crunch time, down to the wire, every single vote counts, and we are about to lose the only opportunity in our lifetime to get this right, this is it, clock is ticking mode, and you’re either on board or not. I just ask that you take a minute to consider the consequences of your posts, your actions, your words, and how you spend your time.

We are supposed to be part of a grassroots movement. Movement means action. Action means doing. Doing is not kvetching on Facebook. Doing is not passive. What are you doing to help Bernie win?