There are things you know that are going to happen, but you just try like hell to convince yourself that they may not. My cat is sleeping on the table next to the laptop, but he certainly won’t throw up on it. Yes, he will. That hurricane forming into the Atlantic certainly won’t make landfall on top of my house. Yes, it will.
And since March, when Joe Biden began to run away with the Democratic primary, we all hoped that Bernie Sanders and the spiteful idiots among his campaign staff would allow the Democratic voters’ will to be carried out without their interference. Every possible Democratic voter who becomes disenchanted with Biden and decides not to vote for him in November is, by default, a vote that will not be cast to run Trump out of office.
It ain’t fucking rocket science.
And yet, we’re seeing evidence that some — not all, not even most, but some — Sanders supporters and former campaign officials are working to undermine and sabotage Biden’s chances to defeat Trump in November.
You hoped that they wouldn’t, but yes. They will. Again.
Less than a month ago, the Biden and Sanders teams worked together to create a party platform that gave both sides plenty to celebrate. Everyone didn’t get everything they wanted, but it seemed like the two wings of the party were ready to work together to propel the Biden candidacy forward and begin redressing some of the nation’s most egregious ills. Sanders acknowledged the disagreements that remain between himself and Biden, but he calls the proposal
a good policy blueprint that will move this country in a much-needed progressive direction and substantially improve the lives of working families throughout our country.
Now, cracks are beginning to show in that construct. And former Sanders campaign co-chair Nina Turner is one of the ones wielding the crowbar.
On Tuesday, Turner said that voting for Biden was comparable to eating a big bowl of shit. Okay, only half of it.
Gee, thanks for motivating low-information and reluctant voters, Nina. Her words on voting for Biden:
It’s like saying to somebody, “You have a bowl of shit in front of you, and all you’ve got to do is eat half of it instead of the whole thing.” It’s still shit.
The deafening chorus of crickets outside my home must have drowned out Sanders’s repudiation of Turner’s vicious remarks.
Some Sanders supporters have been bellowing for Turner, who said Biden has consistently let African-Americans down, to be named as Biden’s vice president. I hope they’re holding their breaths waiting for that to happen.
Similarly, Cornel West, a former Sanders campaign surrogate who once referred to “Brother Bernie and Brother Trump” as the only two “authentic human beings” in the 2016 race, attacked Biden:
We have to be true to ourselves and acknowledge that Biden is a mediocre, milquetoast, neoliberal centrist that we’ve been fighting against in the Democratic establishment.
Trump’s campaign should be grateful for West’s cooperation with them in trying to undermine Biden as a viable president.
And former Sanders campaign press secretary Briahna Joy Gray, one of the most reliable anti-Democratic voices from the Sanders crew, is repeatedly attacking Biden, possible vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, and even, on occasion, Barack Obama on her Twitter account. Remember, Gray bragged about not voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
— Briahna Joy Gray (@briebriejoy) July 22, 2017
But these are just three of the usual assholes being assholes, amirite? Well, as they say on the late-night infomercials, wait! There’s more!
Today, Politico published a story headlined “Biden, Bernie forces clash during convention meeting.” The story details some of the “disarray” evident during a recent virtual DNC meeting to hammer out accords before the Democratic convention. The story’s subtitle is Turner calling the Biden campaign’s actions during the event “disgusting, disturbing, unacceptable,” and leads with a photo of Turner apparently spitting nails at Biden campaign officials.
Politico absolutely loves to run with “Democrats in disarray” stories. This has long been established. But the rhetoric from both the Sanders and Biden partisans was apparently quite heated. A Biden official says the complaints and characterizations from Sanders representatives during the meeting are wrong:
This is a mischaracterization. There was a small group that was drowning out speakers, and this continued through a tribute to the late Rep. John Lewis. They were asked to stop by both Sanders and Biden delegates. And the overwhelming takeaway of this meeting was the five resolutions that were passed unanimously, as a result of the hard work of the Sanders and Biden teams.
It isn’t clear whether that “small group” was composed of Sanders appointees, Biden appointees, or both.
The argument reported on by Politico began when Brent Welder, a Sanders appointee on the convention’s rules committee, proposed a resolution to change the party charter to disallow all corporate PAC dollars, and limit corporate lobbyists from serving on the DNC. A Biden appointee asked for it to be tabled, which, committee co-chair Barney Frank explained, means that if it is tabled, it will remain undiscussed until someone makes a successful motion to revive it. Welder and other Sanders representatives apparently don’t know how committees work, and began objecting. When another Sanders appointee tried to force a vote on the resolution, some Biden appointees pushed back, with one Biden appointee allegedly saying: “You’re acting like children. You were going to lose anyway, so get over it.” The Sanders appointee, Jillian Johnson, says the meeting was then closed. Turner and Welder support Johnson’s claims, but others dispute the narrative. What Turner and the others don’t mention is that the committee did vote to consider Welder’s proposal, and the proposal was defeated.
Sanders committee members then rushed to social media to vent their complaints, and apparently to either exaggerate or outright lie about the events in the committee.
The “five resolutions” that were passed unanimously were apparently of little interest to Sanders partisans such as Turner. The committee adopted numerous reform measures designed to restrict the ability of superdelegates to weigh in on the nomination process and make caucuses more accessible to voters. Some of the measures passed after some Sanders campaign officials asked their appointees to withdraw their own amemdments in order to join in on the amendments agreed to between the Biden and Sanders camps.
As has usually been the case, Sanders isn’t trying to constrain his former campaign officials from taking massive dumps on Biden. But he did make the following statement:
The rules passed today, which keep in place the important changes we pushed to make four years ago, ensure that our party’s presidential nominee is selected by rank-and-file Democrats — not party elites. I want to thank the Biden campaign, the delegates and the members of the committee who forged this agreement. What it says, very simply, is that the will of the people must come first.
So there’s that.
This may be much ado about nothing. Or it may signal a new initiative by Turner, West, Gray and others among the “usual suspects” to do what they can to derail the Biden campaign and give the nation another four years of Trump.
Not all of the usual suspects are going to be part of this. David Sirota, the former Sanders speechwriter, said after Sanders officially endorsed Biden in April that doing anything else except working to defeat Trump is unthinkable. About the binary choice between Biden and Trump, he wrote:
I spent the last year of my life trying to prevent it from being that choice, but sorry — with Bernie suspending his campaign and today endorsing Biden, that’s now the choice. I’ve said before and will say again: Trump must be defeated in this election. There’s a pandemic that threatens to kill hundreds of thousands of people and a climate crisis that threatens all life on the planet. Defeating Trump is not an option — it is an imperative.
So there’s that, also. And then there’s the “Settle for Biden” “movement,” which is getting some play. It’s an effort put together by unnamed “Sanders and Warren supporters” “who recognize Joe Biden’s flaws but know that our nation will not survive four more years of Donald Trump.” The messaging doesn’t thrill me, but if it persuades some disgruntled Sanders supporters to grit their teeth and vote for Biden, then I can live without being thrilled. And apparently there is a larger “settle for Biden” sentiment out there.
This time in 2016, Sanders campaign officials and partisans were almost unified in their vicious attacks on Clinton. Some of the Sanders delegates were preparing to unfurl a giant WikiLeaks banner during the Democratic convention, and were practicing their “Lock her up!” chants. I don’t see anything that orchestrated or pervasive happening this year.
I don’t advocate ignoring Turner, West, Gray and whichever other former Sanders mouthpieces when they launch attacks. Rather, I advocate pushing back against them HARD. Let them know that they don’t speak for the vast majority of Democrats, liberals, progressives and centrists alike. We’re uniting behind Biden, some with a degree of reluctance (see Sirota above). We would have done the same with Sanders had he won. But the Democratic voters spoke, and they overwhelmingly chose Biden to bring an end to the Trump reign of terror, incompetence and treason. Turner, West, Gray and the others can either get on board, or be treated like the social and political pariahs they risk becoming.