Democracy for America’s Jim Dean on the circumstances that led to the creation of Donald Trump, his brother’s support of Clinton, and his belief that Bernie Sanders can go all the way

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I had the opportunity to spend some time this afternoon with Jim Dean, the co-founder and chair of Democracy for America (DFA), as he stopped by the Ypsi-Arbor campaign office for Bernie Sanders on his way to Flint. Among other things, we discussed Bernie’s chances in the Michigan Democratic primary, what the Sanders campaign could mean for the future of Democratic party, and, as Dean put it, “the euro-fascist thing that Trump offers.”

Thankfully, I got much of our conversation on video, which you can watch below. Here, however, are a few of the highlights.

In spite of the fact that Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com is projecting with 99% certainty that Clinton will win the Democratic primary in Michigan on Tuesday, Dean seemed optimistic. He said he thinks that they’ve got a shot in Michigan, but, even without a win, he’s confident that they can stay competitive until until the end, taking the campaign all the way to the convention.

Bernie’s message, Dean told me, is the right one for right now. Voters today, he said, don’t care about parties. “They just want stuff done,” he says. They want out from under big business. They want health care. They want leaders who will stand against racial injustice and big business, which has been exploiting the American people for far too long. And Bernie, he said, is talking about those things more than anyone else on the campaign trail. This isn’t without precedent, Dean added. “We’ve been through this before with the robber barons,” he tells me, and we did something about it.

[Bernie Sanders, for those of you who are interested, will be speaking at U-M’s Crisler Center on Monday at 4:00.]

Dean and I discussed his relationship with his brother, former Vermont Governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean, who, as some of you may know, endorsed Clinton early in her campaign. Wile not talking about his bother specifically, Dean said that he thinks many who endorsed Clinton early on now regret it, as the energy and momentum is clearly with Sanders. Dean did say that he went to his brother early in the process, though, promising that, whoever the membership of DFA voted to support, the organization would run a positive campaign and eventually back the Democratic nominee. [When DFA’s one million members were asked who they wanted to support in the primary, 87.5% of respondents indicated Sanders.]

Speaking of Howard, I mentioned having seem him when he came through Ypsilanti a dozen years ago, and how small the crowd had been compared to those Sanders is drawing today. [Howard Dean probably drew about 50 people to Recreation Park, whereas Bernie Sanders pulled about 9,500 to the EMU Convocation Center.] I didn’t mention this to disparage the 2004 Dean campaign, but to illustrate just how much our collective appreciation for progressive platforms had grown in such a relatively short period of time. The American people, Dean tells me, are ready for something new. “This is a year that voters are not interested in more of the same,” he says, as demonstrated by the popularity of Sanders and Trump. The system hasn’t worked for 99% of Americans, according to Dean, and “voters are willing to gamble” this year on something new.

Dean and I also talked at some length about the criticisms against Sanders. On the subject of whether or not Sanders will be able to deliver on his promises if elected, Dean brings up Reagan, who also came to office with a movement behind him. If Sanders wins, Dean says, it’ll be because the people made it happen, and they’ll have to stay behind him to accomplish the goals he’s set out. Furthermore, he says, Sanders has proven that he can build coalitions and make things happen in the Senate. In evidence of this, Dean points to the fact that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) seemed to be moving through Congress relatively easily until Sanders built a coalition, including several Republicans, and brought public attention to what it would mean for American workers.

When asked what he thinks about he criticism that Bernie hasn’t evolved over time, sticking with the same basic message for the past 40 years, Dean defends Sanders. First, he says, that same basic message has been correct all of these years. And, second, he says, Sanders does evolve. On the subject of race, for instance, Dean says that Sanders, who he descries as a life long learner, knew that he couldn’t just rest on his Civil Rights era laurels.

And we talked, of course, about Donald Trump… “(The Republicans) created this,” Dean said. It started with Reagan’s now famous “states rights” speech back in 1980, delivered just a few miles from Philadelphia, Mississippi, where civil rights workers had been murdered in 1964. They’ve been race baiting ever since, Dean says, and it’s finally come to a point with Trump where they can no longer just keep it bubbling below the surface, using it to their advantage. Now they actually have to deal with what they’ve created, he says.

Given what we’re seeing from the current Republican candidates, Dean seems to think that we could see a Democratic sweep come election time. That is, if we don’t screw it up. He says, if we want to win, and really make a change, we have to decide that we’re really a reform party, and stick with it. We can’t, he says, keep one foot on Wall Street, and expect that the people will stay with us. “This party is either the party of reform,” he says, “or we’re going home.”

We talked about the black vote, and how, despite the fact that Sanders has picked up endorsements from the likes of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Cornel West, Spike Lee, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Angela Davis, Ben Jealous and Killer Mike, he doesn’t seem to be making too much headway. While it helps, Dean says, that people are comparing the way both candidates have reacted to Black Lives Matter protestors, the truth is that Sanders just isn’t a household name the way that Clinton is. Dean does say, however, that we shouldn’t think of the black vote as being a monolithic entity. There are areas within the black community, Dean says, where Sanders is beginning to gain traction.

We talked about the Democratic National Committee and changes that, he says, will be happening regardless of who wins the primary. He points to Tulsi Gabbard, who just stepped down from the DNC so that she could endorse Sanders. That, he says, is how it should be done. If people within the DNC want to campaign for a specific candidate, they should step down. We can’t have conflicts of interest, he says. “And let’s be honest, that’s not what’s happening right now.” [For what it’s worth, I suspect that higher-ups within the DNC aren’t just backing Hillary because they love her. She’s also good for their bottom line. According to Time magazine, in February alone, Clinton raised $4.4 million for the DNC and state parties.]

And Dean and I discussed Michigan. From right-to-work to the Emergency Manager law that was passed over the clear will of the people, we talked about the diminished power of the Michigan citizen. And we talked about Snyder. “I don’t even know how guys like this can be in office,” Dean says.

Dean and I also discussed the possibility of a face-off between Trump and Sanders in the general election. Dean says he would welcome it, as it would force us as a nation to confront two very clear and distinct visions of the future. The people have to decide, he said, “Are we going to take control of this, or aren’t we?”

[As of right now, according to the most recent information at FiveThirtyEight, Clinton has 611 delegates, and Sanders has 410. This does not include so-called “super delegates” we keep hearing about in the news, as they are not bound to any particular candidate based on caucus or primary results. [There are 712 such people, and they can change their preferences right up until the time of Democratic National Convention.] Speaking of delegates, Michigan has 152, 19 of which are super delegates.]

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57 Comments

  1. Posted March 7, 2016 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    It starts awkwardly, but it gets better. Trust me.

  2. Jean Henry
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    The comparison of Sanders to Reagan is very apt.

  3. Jean Henry
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    the DNC IS a mess. I sent back their donation request and survey with a note to that effect. I may be frustrated, but I’m not calling for an end to the DNC. Because that would be stupid. The Democratic process is not wholely corrupted. It’s kind of amazing. It’s self-regulating when the citizens activate. They will need to stay activated for real reform to happen, no matter who that candidate is. (And Sanders supporters are statistically the least likely to participate in the democratic process normally) I’m profoundly disappointed in Sanders. And more so in his supporters and their allegiance to dreams and truthiness over facts and realistic assessment of the circumstances. Mostly I’m disappointed in their lack of understanding of the democratic process and their belief that it is corrupted when they don’t get what they want. Lots of systemic failures to point to, but the democratic process is not one. And this election is making that clear. In a properly functioning democracy, like a good negotiation, no one gets what they want but everyone’s interests are served. We’re moving in that direction. That part is exciting. Luckily the primary will be decided in a few short weeks. The noise in the Washtenaw County echo chamber has been deafening. Bernie is so friggin loud and on talking point repeat. It’s like living in Bible belt PA during the first Reagan election, precisely. I think I need some noise cancelling headphones in the meantime

  4. Tim
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Jean, I appreciate your enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton. I wish I shared it. It would make home life easier. (My partner is a Clinton supporter.) I, however, feel as though Clinton’s allegiance to moneyed interests is too great. Above all else, if we ever want to progress as a nation, I feel we need to get the corporate money out of politics. Until we do, nothing will change. I am confident of that. Unless something is done, it will only get worse. I do not see that happening with Clinton. I at least see a chance with Sanders. This is something that I have thought quite a lot about and I am comfortable with my decision. I do not think that I am naive for supporting Sanders, and I do not appreciate your repeated suggestion that Sanders supporters just don’t understand how the system works. The reason I am supporting Sanders is because I do know very how the system works.

  5. kjc
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    “In a properly functioning democracy, like a good negotiation, no one gets what they want but everyone’s interests are served. We’re moving in that direction. ”

    lol.

  6. Kat
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    You wouldn’t know for the news coverage that Bernie won 3 out of 4 contests this past weekend.

  7. Demetrius
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    @ Jean

    Politics is definitely about compromise, but to have legitimate compromise, both sides need to start at opposite positions, and work toward the middle. Instead, many of us have watched for decades as both parties have drifted ever rightward – with the Republicans becoming proto-fascist, and many mainstream Democrats becoming, essentially, “Republican-lite.” What’s the point of compromise if one side positions itself 3/4 the way toward their opponent’s platform?

    It is true many Sanders supporters aren’t warming to Clinton. But it isn’t because they aren’t “getting what they want,” it is because they don’t like/trust Clinton, and know – despite her campaign rhetoric – she has a history of supporting policies that favor Wall Street, militarism, etc., instead of ordinary working-class and poor people, and peace. I don’t think we (Bernie supporters) think he is necessarily a perfect candidate, but at least he has a genuine track-record of standing up for many good things, and at least he’s raising issues that desperately need to be talked about in this campaign.

    As much as the Republicans have a “Trump” problem, I think the Democrats have a Hillary problem. First, because in poll after poll, Bernie has proven to be the most electable candidate against any of the Republicans front-runners … and because, if Hillary is the nominee, I think Democrats will have a huge enthusiasm gap … as many Democrats and leaners will simply stay home rather than vote for someone who voted for the Iraq War and who thinks the TPP is a “gold standard” as far as trade agreements go.

  8. Demetrius
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I also want to second what Tim (above) said. The fact that Bernie has refused to take money from “SuperPACs,’ and that his average donation is only $47, is reason enough to support him over any other candidate.

    Since Citizens United, big money control of our politics has exploded in a way that is toxic and threatens what’s left of our democracy.

    Politicians can wring their hands all they want about how terrible this situation is, but the ultimate (genuine) statement is to go “cold turkey.”

  9. Alice
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    FYI: There are no winner-take-all primaries for democrats. The reality is, even without the super delegates, Hillary has won 197 more delegates than Bernie. This past weekend, winning 3 out of 4 states, netted him only 3 more than she. Unless he starts winning big states by blow-out proportions from now on (which the polling doesn’t indicate), he will never be able to catch up.

  10. Virginia
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    This nearly 50 yr old female, life long Democrat volunteer isn’t falling for him and his false energy for change, or his pictures of Detroit Ruin Porn. I am one those Dems that votes in every election from School boards, millage votes, one who calls my congressperson and is involved. I feel like I have been more involved in the Democratic cause that Sanders has been … oh right he is not a Democrat. I never heard of him until maybe a year and a half ago. I am pretty WONKish too…

    Sorry but this morning I am pretty angry at Democrats basically throwing away Obama’s accomplishments out of the picture to make Bernie look like a some new type of force for “Change”. Not to mention “Democrats” who #feelthebern constantly jumping down Hillary supporters throats like she was TRUMP. It’s just getting weird.

    Sorry Man, Bernie can’t lead this country. Maybe he could lead Finland, but not America. He should run non-profit for campaign finance reform or trade reform, but not lead a country. He can’t effect change with the Congress, he doesn’t have it, the relationships and the respect needed in Washington. And Yes, I will say it, he doesn’t seem very nice, and his voice drives me up the wall! (okay okay I am not PC!)

    I never thought I wouldn’t cast a vote for a President. NEVER. Trump would beat Bernie. I know what you all wrote and said above, but when comes down to it I believe that a basically atheist kindaJewish will not bring people to the polls. (I know writing that last sentence isn’t PC either, but that IS middle America.)

    For me, if Bernie wins the DNC Nomination and he and his supporters continue to conduct themselves the way they do, then let Trump win, it is only four years. Oh! And let Trump decide the SOCTUS, I will continue to escort women into clinics for healthcare. I think I have cared too damn much in my lifetime anyway. If I don’t vote for a President then I CAN in good conscience sit back and think, I didn’t do this to my country, whomever wins. I resolve to sit back, get a medical marijuana card and watch the circle jerk that would be either Trump or Sanders as President.

    I know in my soul that Hillary would hurt this country less in four years than Drumpf or Sanders.

  11. Demetrius
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I’m nearly 50 years old, and I was a life-long Democrat, too. I campaigned for my first presidential ticket (Mondale/Ferraro) before I had a drivers license. In the years since, I’ve supported Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Obama (and Jerry Brown, Bill Bradley, Howard Dean, etc. in the primaries) – and I’ve made more phone calls and knocked on more doors than I can count.

    I appreciate the differences between mainstream Democrats (like Clinton) and Republicans on important social issues … but when it comes to nearly everything else, over the decades I’ve seen many differences between the two parties wither away. The mainstreams of both parties are now beholden to big money interests, support Wall Street over workers, big banks over homeowners and small businesses, big insurers over single-payer, illegal domestic spying over civil liberties, militarism over diplomacy/disengagement, etc.

    There’s an old saying that goes: “I didn’t leave the party, the party left me” … and that’s how I feel about the Democrats. I’m concerned about Trump (or Cruz) winning … but I just can’t bring myself to support somebody who voted for the Iraq War, thinks the TPP is a “gold standard,” and whose husband and daughter lead a $3 billion foundation (largely funded with corporate money), and pretend this person is in any way going to represent me or my interests.

  12. Demetrius
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    “He can’t effect change with the Congress, he doesn’t have it, the relationships and the respect needed in Washington.”

    I’m not saying Bernie would have a cake-walk, but is there anybody more hated by Congressional Republicans than Hillary Clinton?!

    If she get’s elected, the bitterness, acrimony, and outright sabotage will be like (Bill) Clinton + Barack Obama x 1,000.

  13. Demetrius
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    This is exactly what I’m talking about: http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/columnists/brian-j-oconnor/2016/03/06/payday-lending-consumer-finance-protection-bureau/81415142/

  14. Meta
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Clinton wasn’t completely honest about Bernie’s stance on the auto bailout last night.

    From today’s Washington Post: “Clinton and Sanders were both in the Senate at the time, and contrary to what Clinton implied Sunday, both supported the idea of an auto bailout.”

    In 2012, President Obama campaigned as a champion of the auto industry by taking credit for the auto bailout and repeatedly hitting his opponent, Mitt Romney, for opposing it. Some think the strategy helped Obama win reelection.

    Four years later, Hillary Clinton appears to be using the same playbook — only this time she’s doing it in the Democratic primary. In Sunday’s Democratic debate in Flint, Mich., Clinton underscored her support for that bailout and — somewhat disingenuously — suggested that Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) didn’t support it.

    “I voted to save the auto industry,” she said. “He voted against the money that ended up saving the auto industry. I think that is a pretty big difference.”

    What Clinton said is technically true, but it glosses over a lot of important nuance, including the fact that Sanders is actually on the record as supporting the auto bailout. He even voted for it.

    Clinton clearly figures the auto bailout may prove to a big factor going into Tuesday’s primary in Michigan and the one next week in Ohio, where both candidates are hoping to do well and where the auto industry is big. So it seems like she’s willing to take the gamble that fact checkers may call her out for her tactic Sunday — but that voters won’t.

    The drama isn’t likely to go away, as Clinton and Sanders battle it out for support in union-heavy auto states in the coming days. So here’s the Clinton-Sanders fight over the auto bailout, explained.

    First, some recent history

    As the magnitude of the 2008 financial crisis swept the nation in the waning days of his presidency, President George W. Bush announced he was injecting $17 billion in taxpayer money to auto giants Chrysler and General Motors, which warned they needed an immediate influx of cash to stay afloat.

    Bush was pulling money out of the $700 billion financial rescue program that Congress had approved two months earlier, most of which was intended for and eventually went to prop up Wall Street banks and insurance companies.

    Bush didn’t want to use that money for the auto industry; he had hoped Congress would approve a separate bailout for GM and Chrysler. Democrats in Congress tried to, but in December 2008, Senate Republicans blocked a $14 billion plan over a disagreement about its terms.

    Republicans weren’t opposed to the aid, so much as they wanted the auto industry to make big cuts in pay and benefits by 2009; Democrats wanted to give the auto industry a few more years to cut its debts. The end result was that Congress didn’t set up a separate bailout for the auto industry, and Bush was forced to draw on the Wall Street bailout to prop up the automakers.

    Where Sanders and Clinton come in

    Clinton and Sanders were both in the Senate at the time, and contrary to what Clinton implied Sunday, both supported the idea of an auto bailout.

    Sanders argued that letting the auto industry go under was too big of a risk for middle-class workers — it could lower wages across all sectors of the economy and have a ripple effect on states like Vermont that were fairly far removed from the auto industry. He was quoted by Vermont Public Radio at the time as saying:

    “The problem is if you don’t act in the midst of a growing recession, what does it mean to create a situation where millions of more people become unemployed? And that could spread, and I have serious concerns about that. I think it would be a terrible idea to add millions more to the unemployment rolls.”

    But Sanders was vehemently against the larger $700 billion bailout to prop up the banks. (As evidenced by his presidential campaign, Sanders is no fan of Wall Street.) So he voted against the bank bailout.

    The bank bailout was so big it had to be doled out in portions. In January 2009, Senate Republicans tried to block the Treasury Department from releasing the second half of the money, some of which was designated for the auto industry. Sanders, based on his opposition to the Wall Street bailout, voted against releasing that money as well.

    That vote gave Clinton the opening she needed to hit Sanders as anti-auto bailout on Sunday. “If everybody had voted the way he did, I believe the auto industry would have collapsed, taking 4 million jobs with it,” she said.

    Read more:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/03/07/the-hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-debate-over-the-auto-bailout-explained/

  15. Kim
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    There are less than 200 delegates between Sanders and Clinton and there are still 4,051 yet to be decided. This is far, far from over.

  16. site admin
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Romney’s possible path to the White House.

    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2016/03/07/3756777/could-mitt-romney-actually-be-the-2016-republican-presidential-nominee/

  17. Lynne
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I get very discouraged when I hear Bernie supporters or Hillary supporters talk about how they would rather let Trump win than vote for whichever of those two might happen to get the nomination. Are you kidding me? Are you spoiled babies?

    I am voting for Bernie but I am very disappointed in many of my fellow Bernie supporters. They sometimes are so bad and so sexist that I wonder if they are GOP plants put there to make Bernie look bad. It is usually the Bernie people who stamp their feet and threaten to take all of their toys and go home if they don’t get their way but Thanks Virginia for showing us that those kinds of infantile threats aren’t limited to one side. Ugh. I am a little tired of it.

  18. anonymous
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I have never heard a single Sanders supporter on this site say that he/she would vote for Trump if Clinton wins the nomination. I have, however, seen at least one Clinton supporter say that she would vote for Trump if Sanders got the nomination.

  19. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Like Lynne said, I have heard liberal people say they would rather have Trump as president than the “other liberal”. I just chalk that kind of empty talk as lame attempts to persuade people to their side by demonizing the other candidate. Every Liberal person will choose against Trump.

  20. Peter Larson
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I don’t support any candidate.

    Supporting candidates is like taking a magic pill where everything but the candidate is flawed. I always thought supporting candidates publicly was a sign of mental weakness.

  21. Jean Henry
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I dont think I’m under any illusion that HRC is flawless. that would be impossible. I have disagreed with her on about 20% of her voting record– more than Sanders. And I really hated Bill in the white house. I just think she’s the best qualified candidate for the job and have no problem saying that given the shitty field. I don’t believe in saints and sinners in politics. I don’t think she’s any worse than the rest and she can take a lot of hits. Standing aside from participating in discourse in a democracy is stupid IMHO. Although i can see why it’s tempting. I haven’t sold my soul to the devil (really!). I just made my pick– after 6 mos of consideration. Who cares really. The point is to talk about beliefs and solutions and policy and iterate the crap out of this process. Come to know the political landscape by engaging in it. I do love me some representational democracy. It’s an amazing human invention.

    KJC– I’m not sure why the idea that we are moving forward towards progressive change gets an LOL. It’s pretty easy to document. It’s not like Sanders started it or that his loss would end it. Seriously. Doesn’t it seem like the entire conversation of this election has moved 12 paces to the left on the Dem side while the GOP implodes? There are pendulum swings. Citizens United sucks but this election wont be bought. It will be won. How can that not indicate to you that we are progressing? I’m really confused.

    I guess if you think Trump will win, that makes sense. But he doesnt have the numbers against either candidate. So it doesnt seem a huge risk. I don’t think he is representative of most of the nation– or even most of his supporters. Sometimes cultural tendencies need to blow up and fully reveal themselves before they go away.

    In the end, I think I just trust the process more. I think it’s amazing. It;s working even around Citizens United. Active citizen participation is overcoming dark money. Within the system. I don’t know what alternative you would propose.

  22. Demetrius
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    @ Jean

    When you say “I think I just trust the process more. I think it’s amazing. It’s working even around Citizens United. Active citizen participation is overcoming dark money …” What do you mean?

    I’m not being snarky, I’m being serious.

    You must live in a different country than I do … because here in America, just about the only folks who think our current system is “amazing” are TBTF banks, insurance companies, oil cartels, and defense contractors.

  23. Jean Henry
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    @ Demetrius I used to vote as far left as possible to push the Dem party to the left. That was always my policy, and I thought I would do it this time. But I’m happy with where the conversation is now on the Dem side. And I cant vote for someone whose policies do not hold water and do not reflect the positions of long established advocates for progressive change in almost every area of reform. ot I dont have to this time. Doubling down, his rhetoric reminds me of Reagan. It’s really his rhetorical approach that is unbearable to me, but is apparently catnip to others. The election will determine who wins. I’m ok with that.

    As for the current polling on chances in the general, those results are extremely unreliable this early on. And most polls show both Bernie and HRC beating Trump by decent margins. Only Bernie blogs shared by Bernie bros say that only Bernie can win. Of course. Most Dem voters dont hate Hillary or love Bernie. They are not voting in the primary– apparently because most would be happy with either candidate. Bernie’s base routinely dont vote in the general. Hillary is only evil to a small portion of the left and a larger chunk of the right, but not enough to stop her. Not against any of that GOP lot. What a bunch of losers.(said with Trump intonation) She won’t be that bad. Let’s talk about it in 4 years.

  24. Demetrius
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    “Only Bernie blogs shared by Bernie bros say that only Bernie can win.”

    If people were routinely calling Clinton supporters “Clinton sisters” or some such, we would immediately (and rightly) be labeled as sexist. Yet, all over the internet, I see this smug dismissal of “Bernie bros” as if that’s somehow O.K.

    Clinton may have a chance to beat the eventual Republican nominee, but everything I’ve seen so far shows that Bernie has a *better* chance. That’s not coming from “Bernie blogs,” that’s coming from long-established pollsters.

    “Most Dem voters don’t hate Hillary or love Bernie. ” Hate is a strong word. But I can tell you that many long-time Democrats I know really don’t care for Hillary or what they feel she represents.

    I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but it seems that much of your theory hinges on the idea that – after Hillary (inevitably) wins – Bernie supporters will lick their wounds and get behind her. I don’t think that’s going to happen this time. I’m not saying we’re going to vote for Trump or Cruz (we’re not crazy, after all), but I don’t really see many of us making contributions, phone-banking, encouraging our friends and neighbors to vote for Hillary, either.

  25. Lynne
    Posted March 7, 2016 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Re: “Bernie Bros”

    I don’t think of the term as referring to any Bernie supporter. But there are a not insignificant number of young white male Bernie supporters who just love to pass around sexist memes and jokes. Sometimes they are racist too. Those guys, as far as I am concerned, have earned the title.

  26. Demetrius
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    @ Lynne.

    Maybe I’m naive, but I haven’t experienced this phenomenon at all.

    I don’t consider the Bernie supporters I know to be racist or sexist. Most supported President Obama, and would be happy to have a woman president, too – they just prefer Elizabeth Warren over Hillary.

  27. Peter Larson
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I would call the Bernie Sanders supporters I know hard headed and deluded, but I have yet to run into anyone racist.

  28. Mr. X
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Yes, I would like to see evidence of these sexist, racist “bernie bros” of which you speak. I receive emails and messages from a number of Sanders supporters every day and I’ve yet to see anything even remotely sexist or racist from them.

  29. Meta
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Speaking of the DNC:

    Michigan Mayor: Security Threatened To Kick Me Out Of Debate For Vocal Bernie Support

    “Warren Mayor Jim Fouts accuses DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz of “totalitarian control” over debate audience in Flint.”

    Read more:
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/evanmcsan/michigan-mayor-security-threatened-to-kick-me-out-of-debate#.thXY9xrMJ

  30. Peter Larson
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    “Seemingly oblivious to the existence of black people outside of mentioning prison reform in passing from time to time out of obligation,” yes, but overtly racist, no.

  31. Anonymous
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Bloomberg announced yesterday that he would not be running, and today it’s being said that Romney has filed FEC paperwork.

    http://bipartisanreport.com/2016/03/07/mitt-romney-files-fec-paperwork-to-run-in-2016-election/

  32. Oliva
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    One could spend a life–in this world as it is–examining the murky spaces that lie between/around “sexism” vs. “misogyny,” for example, and become ever more humble and enriched/kinder for doing so, find surprises and work with them, go easy on oneself and others. Same goes for other deep, deep, deep down sentiments/proclivities/inheritances, not averting one’s glance when the inconsistencies or unwelcome feelings show up, no matter how humiliating or inconvenient. All the while standing up against clear evil . . . (The animosity between Sanders and Clinton supporters is seeming so much like the days of Nader and Gore. I hope that sense is really wrong.)

  33. Could it be
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    that Bernie is seen as sexist merely because he had the audacity to run against Hillary?

  34. maryd
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Over and over I have observed women and especially young women who support HRC in the weeds or under the radar. I could name 5 women in my own circle who are “secretly for Hillary”. As the mother of 3 millennial daughters, I know and have watched as a woman professes their support for Secretary Clinton; the men in their lives decide to school them on how they should be for Bernie. It has happened to me more than once and I watched it last night at Issues and Ale. I see it on daily Facebook in my own liberal leaning political group. While it is normal to profess support for your candidate, it is not normal to have to hide your choice from friends and family. Today I got to vote for the most qualified candidate that I have seen in my lifetime. May the best wo/man win, because of course I will support the Democratic Nominee who wins. I know the face of my enemy and it is not a Democratic candidate for Presidency.

  35. Lynne
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I am not going to run around searching for evidence of sexism among Bernie supporters because you guys can’t believe a woman when she says that she has experienced it and seen it. I will just suggest that when it comes to the more subtle forms of sexism, you don’t have to go far to find it. (*cough*)

  36. Mr. X
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Lynne, I never said I didn’t believe you. I just asked for an example, as I hadn’t personally noticed this phenomenon you mentioned and I was genuinely interested/concerned. I’m sorry if my tone gave the impression that I didn’t believe you. For what it’s worth, had you been a man, I would have asked the exact same question. Believe it or not, I just wanted to hear more about what you’d experienced.

  37. Lynne
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    A lot of it has been similar to what Mary described where I have seen some male supporters of Bernie get very passionate about it and come down hard on women who support Hillary. But also, I’ve seen various memes go by which have been sexist in nature, often bringing up Monica Lewinsky while suggesting that Hillary can’t even keep her man in check, how is she going to run the country? I have seen guys go after her clothing choices and hair choices too. Mostly it is just that these guys like to suggest that women (and black people too) who favor Clinton are too stupid to know their own best interests and that is seriously an offensive position. If you want to see some of this in action, read the comments below any Amanda Marcotte article on Clinton.

  38. Mr. X
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I’ve certainly heard people insult Clinton in the past, for her looks, for her hair, for her imagined role in killing Vince Foster, for her imagined role in Benghazi, etc. There are endless examples of cruel and libelous things that have been said. What I hadn’t seen, however, is evidence of such things having come from supporters of Bernie Sanders. Again, I wasn’t suggesting that you were lying. I just wanted to know what you had seen. Thank you for your response. And, for what it’s worth, I will happily be voting for Hillary if she wins the nomination. Furthermore, I would have supported Elizabeth Warren over either Sanders or Clinton, had she entered the race. So please don’t take my support of Sanders as being motivated by latent sexism. I just think that he offers a better path toward getting corporate control out of politics.

  39. Lynne
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Oh. I don’t think being male and supporting Bernie = BernieBro. The vast majority of men I know who are Bernie supporters are not sexist at all (except what one would expect from anyone raised in a patriarchy) and have very good reasons for supporting him. I support him too because I like his positions on things better than I like Hillary’s. However, I have to admit that I have found myself thinking, “Wait, when did he become a Republican?” after seeing sexist jokes/memes about Clinton passed around by people on my Facebook feed and then realizing that they aren’t Republicans at all, just male Bernie supporters who find sexist jokes funny I guess. They aren’t helping the cause though especially when you consider how many women vote.

  40. Demetrius
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    In other words … people who claim an “ism” don’t need any proof … as long as they claim to have experienced or seen it, that’s good enough.

    I’m sure if you looked hard enough you could find some Bernie supporters (perhaps even Bros) who are assholes. But I think much of innuendo about sexism and racism directed at the campaign and its supporters is cynical (and self-serving) bullshit. Some people like Bernie, some like Hillary … some of them are men, some are women. So what?

    Most Bernie supporters I know voted for Obama *at least* once (though many are disappointed in his Administration); and most would have preferred Elizabeth Warren, but are supporting Bernie because she decided not to run.

  41. Demetrius
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    @ Lynne.

    Sorry, my post came after yours, but was directed an an earlier one.

    I appreciate your perspective on this topic … and my response wasn’t meant as a rebuttal.

  42. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Demetrius– I can assure you that I know many Bernie supporters who have been clear that they will never vote for Hillary even against Trump. I’m sure it seems to you that such people are great in number– because they are certainly the loudest at least in my social media world. I dont know if they’ll follow through on what they have said. I’m hoping they’ll chill out once the primary season is over. When I said many Dems don’t hate Hillary or love Bernie, I was referring to the lack of Dem participation in the primary. That’s based on polling of non-voters who normally vote Dem in the primary so far. Hillary is going to win Michigan by large margins. And I know lots of Dem stalwarts voting GOP in this race to try to overcome Trump’s lead. Basically, I’m saying your small world of voters is largely insignificant in this election. If they don’t vote at all, they are completely insignificant by self-selection. I too have run into many who whisper their support for HRC locally. Since I have been open about my choice and critical of Bernie’s rhetoric, I might be more subject to these revelations. Any one person’s individual choice is not of much interest to me. The whispering is. It smacks of an atmosphere of ideological suppression. Nothing creeps me out more personally. At any rate, it will all be over soon. Hopefully things will tone down locally, once electoral reality sets in. Then the real bad guy— and Trump is a real bad guy– will be the focus of concern on the left.

    Lastly, the real roadblock to functional democracy is gerrymandering at a state level– and it doesn’t just affect state races (duh.). A proposal for a citizen-led redistricting plan died on the vine this year, so local races are incredibly important this year in ending GOP control at state level now and moving forward. In Michigan, the state and federal congressional races are incredibly important. The Dems have a slim shot at taking over at the state level and have three federal house seats vulnerable to Dem takeover in 2016. If the Dems take control of of the state legislature and eventually the governorship, we could re-do the 2012 redistricting map that has up to now provided GOP electoral wins despite Dems winning the popular vote and outnumbering the GOP statewide. So I hope even if you cant vote for HRC in the general, you and your fellow champions for a ‘future to believe in’ will vote. And continue to vote down ballot as much as possible. So many factors at play in politics beyond wall street and bankers and dark money. So many kinds of power and greed.

  43. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Oh also– the Sanders supporters I know who swear off voting HRC in the general are all men. To a man. Given the opportunity to vote for a tough, ambitious, smart and incredibly well-qualified woman candidate over an openly misogynistic, racist, sociopathic, blow hard of a man, women will run cheering to the polls. Lots of women. So many women. It’s going to feel really good in the end. Does it matter that Hillary’s a woman? Yes. It’s not the reason to vote for her in the general, but, given her likely opponent, a lot of people that don’t like her are going to love voting for her and watching her put that asshole down once and for all. I just realized how great it’s going to feel. Wow. Worth all of this. HRC, boss ass bitch, is going to stomp Trump’s ego into the ground. HA!

  44. anonymous
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Not one single person has said to me that they will not vote for HRC if she wins the nomination. I know such people exist, but I do not think it’s common. People know the threat posed by Trump and Cruz.

  45. Bob
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Ah yes, Jean Henry. The always reliable “people I know” research data. National polling suggests young female voters are not buying Clinton in any greater numbers than males. If you refuse to vote for a qualified candidate because she is a woman, you’re an idiot. If you vote for an unqualified one just because she is, you’re also an idiot. She is a Republican. If you vote for her, call yourself a moderate Republican. The only issue she is solidly progressive on is choice. And you can bet your ass she will walk that one back too, come November when the general is tight.

  46. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Bob– thanks for telling me about women. By November 8th Bernie will very very likely be long gone. I was talking about the general, when the choice is HRC or Trump. I think women will rally. Even those that don’t like HRC’s policies or her track record. That was my point.

    Lastly, pro-tip, it’s inadvisable to tell women (or anyone really) what to call themselves or how to self-identify. OK Bob?

  47. kjc
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    “Basically, I’m saying your small world of voters is largely insignificant in this election.”

    compared to jean’s HUGE WORLD, filled with assholes none of us know (but who prove all her points).

    Jean has yet to describe any bernie voter i know. maybe because most of them are women. who she finds disappointing.

  48. Lynne
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Re: “Oh also– the Sanders supporters I know who swear off voting HRC in the general are all men. To a man.”

    FWIW, this has also been my experience. It has been common enough that I have come up with a standard response which is “I am glad that you are in a position where you don’t have to be terrified of a Trump win” and then sometimes I outline the policies that Trump is likely to endorse which will be bad for certain groups. We have made significant progress in recent years for women, homosexuals, atheists, Muslims, health care for the poor, minorities, immigrants, etc. It is really important that we not allow a guy like Trump to roll back any of those things. I just hope that people can suck it up and vote for Hillary in the general if she gets the nomination even if to them, she is essentially a Republican. (on a side note, I am not sure that is fair. She is more conservative than I like to be sure but she isn’t any more conservative than Obama and certainly is more liberal than her husband)

  49. Demetrius
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I realize this is a focus group of just one … but I have a niece who is weeks away from being 21, and who is becoming politically aware and active – and told me she was offended when Madelaine Albright and Gloria Steinem tried to suggest that she “owed” it to her fellow women to support HRC.

    I think many young women of her generation take for granted that the president can be a man or a woman … but conversely, don’t feel they are obligated to support someone just because of their gender.

  50. Kat
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Back to the post. Speaking of Bernie and the black vote, have you heard of Black Men for Bernie?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47E4uGhTryk

  51. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Demetrius– “feel obligated to support someone because of their gender” –you missed my point entirely.

  52. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    KJC– one by one, in reverse.
    –I do not find women disappointing. I don’t know where that comes from. I find Bernie disappointing. Maybe that was the line that confused??? I said, and it’s true, that I don’t care who any one votes for. Any. One.

    “compared to jean’s HUGE WORLD, filled with assholes none of us know (but who prove all her points).” Does someone else make my points? Really. Because I spend way to much time looking stuff up and verifying information and if someone else could make these points for me, that would be handy. I do know a fair number of people engaged in progressive causes at a policy level here, in California and DC . Maybe that’s what you are referring to? Assholes is not correct, not even remotely. I can’t name them, because, quite obviously, most of them can’t support one candidate over another openly in the Dem primary. I’m not going to out their political positions for them. One is public. Here’s a link she provided: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robyn-powell/why-support-hillary-clinton-disabled-woman_b_9375858.html

    As for — “Basically, I’m saying your small world of voters is largely insignificant in this election.” I meant statistically and the small subset of voters Demetrius was referring to.. Bernie has been very significant in this election. I’ve said that over and over again.

    Rough seas for discourse out here still. Bums me out when a woman dismisses as conceited another woman with a forceful, but different (by degrees) point of view. So now maybe I’m a little disappointed.

  53. Taco Farts
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    WashPo’s Obvious Bias: 16 Negative Stories About Bernie Sanders Published in Just 16 Hours
    http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/washpos_obvious_bias_16_negative_stories_about_bernie_sanders_20160308

    Presidential campaign coverage on network tv nightly news casts, minutes by candidate
    http://tinyurl.com/j94gswy

  54. Bob
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Jean, I think you and Peter Larson make a lovely couple.

  55. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2016 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    “Hillary is going to win Michigan by large margins.” I said that up there ^^ in this thread, based on very recent polling data, but I was wrong. Just conceding that. Bernie got out the vote in MI which is very very good in the end. More important to me really than a HRC win. We will need to turn out like this again in the fall. GOP women did not vote for Trump— he barely cleared 15%, so I got that bit right. Again, good news for the fall.

  56. Posted March 8, 2016 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    I guess Jim was right, Bernie really did have a shot at winning Michigan.

  57. Virginia
    Posted March 9, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Hi Again. haven’t commented on here in years, but I am glad I did because it was interesting. So was last night. It will continue to be interesting.

    Jean Henry, Hi I think you may like this article a lot. Don’t let the title fool you, it is actually a pro-Hillary article from and Xgen women like me. Hope others will read it too.

    http://www.salon.com/2016/03/03/my_gen_x_hillary_problem_i_know_why_we_dont_like_clinton/

    Thanks for the comments section. It got some crap off my chest.

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