Some Closing Thoughts on the Democratic Primary

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A few random thoughts about tonight’s election results:

  • Hillary Clinton won a majority of the pledged delegates, a majority of the superdelegates, and a majority of the popular vote. If you can’t stand her regardless, that’s fine, but a clear majority of Democrats preferred her to Bernie Sanders. Nothing rigged, nothing corrupt, nothing unfair. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.
     
  • I’d love to see her choose Jeff Merkley as her running mate. I’ve never thought it was fair that Oregon gets all the cool senators. They should share.
     
  • But Sherrod Brown is out of the running, I guess: “Aides say Sanders thinks that progressives who picked Clinton are cynical, power-chasing chickens—like Sen. Sherrod Brown, one of his most consistent allies in the Senate before endorsing Clinton and campaigning hard for her ahead of the Ohio primary. Sanders is so bitter about it that he’d be ready to nix Brown as an acceptable VP choice, if Clinton ever asked his advice on who’d be a good progressive champion.”
     
  • I find Sanders’ bitterness very sad. It’s not that it’s unusual: presidential primaries often get pretty nasty, and the losers frequently take it personally. But Bernie accomplished a helluva lot. He wanted to move the Democratic Party to the left, and every hack in the party is now keenly aware that young voters bought Bernie’s message en masse—young voters who, in a few years, will be middle-aged voters that form the core of the party’s base. Sanders has taught the hacks not only that it’s safe for the Democratic Party to move to the left, but that it’s going to whether they like it or not. How many losing candidates can say they accomplished that? Reagan in 1976? Who else? Bernie may have lost the primary, but he won the more important battle. He should be proud as hell.
     
  • For the record: Whitewater was a nothingburger. Travelgate was a nothingburger. Troopergate was a nothingburger. Filegate was a nothingburger. The Vince Foster murder conspiracy theories were a nothingburger. Monica Lewinsky was Bill’s problem, not Hillary’s. Benghazi was a tragedy, but entirely nonscandalous. The Goldman Sachs speeches were probably a bad idea, but otherwise a nothingburger. Emailgate revealed some poor judgment, but we’ve now seen all the emails and it’s pretty obviously a nothingburger. Humagate is a nothingburger. Foundationgate is a nothingburger.

    Bottom line: Don’t let Donald Trump or the press or anyone else convince you that Hillary Clinton is “dogged by scandal” or “works under a constant cloud of controversy” or whatever the nonsense of the day is. That constant cloud is the very deliberate invention of lowlifes in Arkansas; well-heeled conservative cranks; the Republican Party; and far too often a gullible and compliant press. Like anybody who’s been in politics for 40 years, Hillary has some things she should have handled better, but that’s about it. The plain fact is that there’s no serious scandal on her record. There’s no evidence that she’s ever sold out to Wall Street. There’s no corruption, intrigue, or deceit. And if anything, she’s too honest on a policy level. She could stand to promise people a bit of free stuff now and then.

    If you don’t believe me, then for God’s sake, at least believe Jill Abramson. If she thinks Hillary is “fundamentally honest and trustworthy,” then you can probably bank on it.

That is all. For now.

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Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

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