To those asking why bother thinking about this..why
Dana Kyle
261

There’s a lot of anger towards Bernie by HRC supporters. Whether it’s valid or not, it exists.

First, there aren’t a lot of HRC supporters who feel this way. Some of them are in positions that allow them to reach a lot of people with their anger, but overall, it is a tiny fraction of the Party. Given that you can’t please everyone, 8% really isn’t a consequential number.

Second, as I suggested in my previous response to this subject, that anger is misplaced. An objective review of the historical timeline of both candidates, before and during the primary contest, would prove to you that Sanders staked out a progressive vision of what he considers the essential issues of the day — 30 years ago — and he’s been working toward solutions for those issues ever since. Clinton has actively, cynically, characterized the Left and the Right as opposing extremist bomb throwers, in order to cast herself as the reasonable center.

This characterization is harmful to the Party as a whole, and it betrays the goals of the majority of the Party’s rank and file, who overwhelmingly support things like Single Payer and Tuition free public college. Equating the Left and the Right as opposing factions so you can look reasonable is just as cynical and just as wrong as equating anti-fascists with neo-Nazis for the purpose of excusing the latter. In our current socio-political environment, that equation is imbalanced. It’s wrong to paint them as equally vile.

But that is the story arc Clinton has painted, and continues to paint with her self-excusing book. I have no problem with Clinton’s anger. Bernie made her look bad — not by attacking her, but by just being an example of what a public servant is supposed to be; someone who hasn’t spent his entire career monetizing his service for personal gain. She’s got a right to be pissed. But her followers don’t. Because most of them agree with Bernie’s policy agenda, and they just don’t like him because their Hero doesn’t like him. That isn’t valid anger.

Third, to your point, that the anger exists, valid or not, I would suggest that it isn’t in the Party’s best interests to accommodate invalid anger. Just as we don’t accommodate Climate Change deniers, or Flat Earthers, or Obama Birthers, or 9/11 Truthers. We don’t accommodate white supremacists. Because those belief systems are not valid. They are counter factual. There is a mountain of direct factual evidence that each of these belief systems is incorrect. So, to suggest that the Party should accommodate the irrational anger of a small group of deceived zealots who read Hillary’s book and believe the characterizations she presents, is to suggest that any delusion should be similarly accommodated. And as we see from the above, that would be damaging — both to the Party’s reputation, and to its focus.

We (hopefully) will be having elections in the future. It’s not worthless to watch the game tape and go over what happened and try to figure out how to make it not happen in the future.

That is entirely, and most enthusiastically agreed. I would caution us all, however, to view that tape dispassionately, analyze the errors, and then point them out to the players. Hillary’s book is what happens when you let the quarterback run that analysis after he threw 5 interceptions, and blame the play of the offensive line, the receivers, the defense and the place kicker. Everybody but him.

In the history of losing Presidential campaigns, each Presidential loser has allowed the Party to do that analysis without their interference by going away until it is complete. They can come back later and make valuable contributions, to be sure, but in the immediate aftermath, through the next election, they make themselves scarce to give the Party time and space to evaluate that history without trying to guide it away from their own decision-making. All of them do this. No one has to tell them to go away. They know it is necessary.

Hillary is currently the captain of the ship, trying to direct the investigation of the NTSB into how it was that she drove it into a giant orange iceberg. She’s pointing at the crew, the rudder, the navigation system, the water, the cargo and the sneaky, sneaky iceberg. Every one and thing that wasn’t at the helm. Be careful with that analysis. It has an agenda.

Misperceptions of Hillary continue to this day…which, granted, don’t particularly matter anymore. But if they are founded in ideas that are rooted in, say, misogyny, that *will* affect (and has started to affect) candidates going forward.

Again, agreed. I will say that Hillary was judged harshly for her failings. Much of the criticism surrounded her very corporate-heavy donor list, and while I think that’s a problem, and I would argue, strenuously, that accepting large gobs of money from total strangers who want things from you necessarily impacts your behavior, this isn’t unprecedented. Bill turned that into a business, and he got elected twice. Obama’s donor list was very similar, and he got elected twice — and he’s still highly respected and beloved. So, what is it about Hillary that made this very common failing disqualifying? And I’d suggest that there are a few reasons for this.

Her predecessors who were similarly corrupted were better at pretending they weren’t. She’s a shitty candidate. She always has been. She admits it readily. Bill and Obama are generationally charismatic politicians with a preternatural ability to seem sincere. It made people overlook a lot of their flaws.

In past elections, all of the serious contenders were just as corrupted as they were. Everyone was on the take. So, while the donor lists were a source of concern that were brought up in those elections, there was no stark contrast between the eventual winner and everyone else.

In this election, Hillary was saddled with a boy scout for an opponent. Sanders may be one of the only major candidates in recent memory that hadn’t significantly monetized his public service. He refused corporate donations. He didn’t work with SuperPACs (albeit, with the exception of the Nurses Union). His presence in the race created a contrast that made Clinton, by comparison, look like Boss Tweed in Tammany Hall. It was hard to ignore.

And of course there was a bunch of good old fashioned misogyny. Women are not allowed to have the same failings as men and still be powerful. They have to be better. And that isn’t fair. It isn’t right. It needs to change.

But the first woman who is elected President isn’t going to be the one who is just as corrupted as everyone else. That’s not how it works. Barrier-breakers aren’t average. They need to be extraordinary.

Jackie Robinson couldn’t have been anyone other than Jackie Robinson. He had to have the ability to adhere scrupulously to the rules, to stand up to the hate and the abuse without complaint, and to achieve greatness in spite of it all. He was unique. He was a model against whom nobody could hope to measure themselves. And he needed to be exactly that, because if he lashed out, as would have been reasonable for him to do, he would have given the his detractors the excuse they needed to dismiss him.

In an interview Hillary gave to Ezra Klein at Vox, she showed us why she isn’t Jackie Robinson. It’s enlightening. I recommend watching the whole thing.

One of the exchanges, paraphrased:

HRC: Barack Obama took big checks from finance, insurance and pharma, and it didn’t affect his behavior…

Vox: It did though.. He cut deals with Pharma and Insurance before ACA even went to debate, and Dodd-Frank wasn’t nearly as restrictive as it could have been…

HRC: Yeah, but it’s always been like that.

To the end, completely un-self-aware.

Hillary isn’t able to adhere scrupulously to the rules. In many ways, she seems to believe that many of the rules don’t apply to her. And she is unable to suffer the abuse of a Presidential campaign without complaint. She complained constantly throughout the campaign. Her book, written far too soon after election, is one long complaining rant. And that gives misogynistic voters all the reason they need to dismiss her.

We live in a misogynistic, racist society. You do not beat that power structure by being as flawed as everyone else. In order to rise above it, you need to be better than everyone else. You need to be transformational. And of course that isn’t fair. But if life were fair, we wouldn’t be living in a misogynistic, racist society.

In hindsight, the idea that Hillary Clinton, with her many flaws, would be that barrier breaker, seems far-fetched. And the fact that she got as close as she did could be attributable to the historically ridiculous character the Republicans offered up. Any sane, experienced Republican politician — admittedly, hard to come by these days — would have made the election a complete rout.

You’re allowed to be mad about that. Anger at the patriarchy is valid and reasonable. But Bernie is the wrong target for that anger. He made Hillary look bad, just by being Bernie. That’s not his fault.

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