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“No Cause For All The Fuss”: Bernie Sanders Is No Fool. He’ll Back Clinton When He Drops Out

Eight years ago, I spent an election night in a basement gymnasium in Manhattan, watching Hillary Clinton and her campaign advisers take up residence in a parallel universe.

It was June 3, 2008, and Barack Obama had just clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, making official a victory that had seemed inevitable for months. But Terry McAuliffe, then the campaign chairman and emcee of this Clinton “victory” party, recited a list of Clinton’s primary wins and introduced her as “the next president of the United States.”

Clinton that night made no mention of her defeat, boasting that she won “more votes than any primary candidate in history.”

Yet four days later, Clinton graciously bowed out of the race. In a concession speech at the National Building Museum in Washington, she said she and her supporters would “do all we can to help elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States.” Some in the hall booed — but Clinton delivered her supporters to Obama in November.

Recalling this serene end to the bitter and extended 2008 Democratic primary battle, I’m not inclined to join in all the hand-wringing about the damage Bernie Sanders is doing to Clinton’s chances in November by remaining in the race.

Tempers flared this week after a Sanders supporter, actress Rosario Dawson, mentioned Monica Lewinsky at a campaign rally. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), a Clinton supporter, demanded Sanders tell his supporters “to stop providing aid and comfort to Donald Trump and the Republican Party.”

This, in turn, caused Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver on Tuesday to accuse the Clinton campaign and her supporters of using “language reserved for traitors to our country.”

Why the hysteria? It doesn’t matter if Sanders continues his candidacy until the last votes are cast in June. What matters is that he quits gracefully, and there should be every expectation that he will, for a simple reason: Sanders is not a fool.

Sanders showed no sign of retreat Tuesday night, even as Clinton extended her lead by winning the night’s biggest prize, Pennsylvania, as well as Maryland, Delaware and Connecticut; Sanders won only Rhode Island. He gave a defiant, hour-long speech in which he said he was “taking on the most powerful political organization in America.” The reference to Clinton drew boos.

Sanders sounded like an extortionist Monday night when he said Clinton, if she won the nomination, would have to earn his supporters’ votes by embracing single-payer health care, free college tuition and a carbon tax — all things Clinton rejected in her (successful) campaign against Sanders. But seconds later, Sanders, prodded by the moderator, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, added a qualifier: “I will do everything in my power to make sure that no Republican gets into the White House in this election cycle.”

That’s the crucial part. Sanders wants to exert maximum leverage to the very end to move Clinton toward his populist policies. But he is a practical man, and he certainly doesn’t wish to see a President Trump or President Cruz. This is why there’s no cause for all the fuss over him remaining in the race until he is mathematically eliminated.

Elimination is coming. Even before Clinton padded her lead with Tuesday night’s wins, Sanders needed to win 59 percent of remaining delegates, or 71 percent if you include superdelegates. That isn’t going to happen.

Clinton loyalists worry that Clinton will suffer general-election consequences from Sanders’s suggestions that she is unqualified and in Wall Street’s pocket. It’s true that Trump has echoed these attacks and said he’d like Sanders “to keep going.”

Still, this just doesn’t qualify as ugly campaigning — particularly compared with a Republican race in which candidates have called each other liars and argued about genital size. Or compare it with the Obama-Clinton standoff of 2008 — a much closer contest than this one. At a May 31, 2008, meeting of the Democratic National Committee, the two campaigns clashed with accusations of cheating. There were hecklers, howls and foul language, and extra security had to be called in to keep order. At the time, Clinton aides, sounding much like this year’s Sanders aides, were threatening that Obama “has work to do” to convince Clinton backers to go his way.

But a week later, Clinton was out, and the party was on a path to unity.

And so it will happen this time. Sanders, when he quits the race, can justifiably declare victory in moving the debate — and Clinton — in his direction on trade, Wall Street, income inequality, campaign finance and energy. His campaign has exceeded all expectations, and he isn’t about to jeopardize his movement by handing the presidency to Trump.

 

By: Dana Milbank, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, April 26, 2016

May 5, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democratic Presidential Primaries, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“And The List Goes On”: Some #NeverTrumpers Have Already Committed To Voting For Hillary Clinton

Some of the most principled members of the conservative movement woke up Wednesday morning to an unrecognizable party — what had been an organization advocating fiscal and social conservatism has turned into something else entirely: a cult of personality. Populists. Know Nothings.

The new reality facing #NeverTrump Republicans became even more apparent following campaign suspension announcements of Ted Cruz and John Kasich. The Texas senator shut down his campaign before the votes had even been fully counted in Indiana. John Kasich waited until this afternoon. With no one left to lead the anti-Trump movement in the presidential nomination race, some Republicans have done the unthinkable — pledge to support Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.

The social media statuses and official announcements came flooding in last night as soon as it became clear that Trump had won the Indiana primary, effectively guaranteeing that he would be the Republican nominee.

“If it’s a competitive election, I probably will be compelled to vote for Hillary,” said Leon Wolf, editor of Red State, a conservative digital news site, to The Daily Beast. ” I wouldn’t go to bed every night worrying about a mushroom cloud opening up somewhere in the world because of some insane thing Trump had done.”

Fellow Red State editor Ben Howe simply tweeted:

#ImWithHer

— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) May 3, 2016

Former John McCain advisor Mark Salter also tweeted:

The GOP is going to nominate for President a guy who reads the National Enquirer and thinks it’s on the level. I’m with her.

— Mark Salter (@MarkSalter55) May 3, 2016

The Clinton campaign is already capitalizing on Trump’s victory, sending out a campaign email with an exhaustive list of conservatives and Republicans who have said they would never vote for Trump. Nebraska senator Ben Sasse, one of the most prominent voices of the #NeverTrump movement, said in a Facebook post, “Mr. Trump’s relentless focus is on dividing Americans, and on tearing down rather than building back up this glorious nation. … I can’t support Donald Trump.”

Trump’s victory in Indiana only solidified already existing conservative opposition to his candidacy. In March, former New Jersey governor Christie Todd Whitman said, “While I certainly don’t want four more years of another Clinton administration or more years of the Obama administration, I would take that over the kind of damage I think Donald Trump could do to this country, to its reputation, to the people of this country.”

David Bernstein, a professor at George Mason University, wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post, “I’d rather Hillary Clinton win. I’d rather (and I never thought I’d say this) Barack Obama serve a third term. I’d even rather Bernie Sanders win, though if it came down to Sanders vs. Trump it might be time to form a breakaway republic. If Trump wins the nomination, I will actively seek to prevent him from becoming president.”

Even in the realm of international affairs, Trump’s promise to commit war crimes and “bomb the shit out of” America’s enemies has turned away even the most ardent neocons. “She [Clinton] would be vastly preferable to Trump,” said Max Boot, a conservative foreign policy analyst, to Vox. Boot had previously advised the McCain, Romney and Rubio campaigns on foreign policy.

The list goes on. But the reality is that while Trump may have a mandate from the 10.6 million people who have voted for him in Republican primaries, he has earned a lot of powerful enemies in his usurping of establishment power in the party. In heralding the start of a new, post-Reagan Republican Party, Trump’s army has spurred an exodus of its old guard. And while these are the last people to support a Clinton presidency, their seeming willingness to cross party lines shows just how desperate a place Donald Trump’s America would be.

 

By: Saif Alnuweiri, The National Memo, May 4, 2016

May 5, 2016 Posted by | Conservatism, Conservatives, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Supers Are Now Supposed To Anoint Sanders”: Bernie Sanders Legitimizes Those Damned Superdelegates

Considering how loudly the Sanders campaign has complained about the nominating role of superdelegates – a group of 712 Democratic party and elected officials appointed rather than elected to the convention — Bernie’s current plea for them to deliver victory to him instead of Hillary Clinton carries a strong whiff of…expediency.

Over the past few months, Sanders supporters have inundated print and airwaves with angry denunciations of the superdelegate system as elitist, unfair, undemocratic, biased against their candidate, and fundamentally illegitimate. Many observers agreed that they had a point (although to me the caucus system seems worse). The most fanatical Berners in the press even openly accused party officials of plotting to “steal” the nomination. Most Sanders voters seemed to view superdelegates just as dimly as big corporations and billionaire donors, elements of a discredited system ripe for “revolution.”

And since last winter, major progressive organizations that support the Vermont senator, such as MoveOn.org and Democracy for America, have circulated petitions demanding that all of the superdelegates cast their convention votes for the candidate that won a primary or caucus in their respective states. Sponsoring the DFA petition was none other than Robert Reich, the economic commentator and former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich.

Having gathered more than 400,000 signatures total, the petition sponsors now find themselves awkwardly in conflict with their own candidate, who said on May 1 that the superdelegates supporting Clinton should switch to him – regardless of who won their home states.

But that was then and this is now, as a cynic would observe. Beyond his disorderly abandonment of what was previously advertised as democratic principle, Sanders has now validated the role of the superdelegates, no matter whom they ultimately choose. By urging them to deliver the nomination to him, he is agreeing that their votes alone can determine the validity of a presidential nomination, even if that means overturning the popular vote (where Clinton leads him by around three million ballots or so).

Coming from a candidate whose campaign and supporters righteously criticize Clinton for insincerity and flip-flopping, this latest strategy is refreshingly pragmatic (to put it politely). Yet more than a few #FeelTheBern activists can still be heard complaining about those dastardly establishment superdelegates. Evidently they haven’t gotten the memo yet, explaining that the supers are now supposed to anoint Sanders.

 

By: Joe Conason, Editor in Chief, Editor’s Blog, Featured Post, The National Memo, May 4, 2016

May 5, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton, Super Delegates | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Who Says Crime Doesn’t Pay?”: The Bottom Line Is Crime Can Actually Pay — If It’s Big Enough

Hey, can we all just stop complaining that our government coddles Wall Street’s big money-grubbing banks?

Sure, they went belly-up and crashed our economy with their frauds, rigged casino games, and raw greed. And, yes, the Bush and Obama regimes rushed to bail them out with trillions of dollars in our public funds, while ignoring the plight of workaday people who lost jobs, homes, businesses, wealth, and hope. But come on, Buckos, have you not noticed that the feds are now socking the bankers with huuuuuge penalties for their wrongdoings?

Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs, for example, was recently punched in its corporate gut with a jaw-dropping $5 billion for its illegal schemes.

Wow, $5 billion! That’s a stunning amount that Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay to settle federal criminal charges over its shameful financial scams that helped wreck America’s economy in 2008. That’s a lot of gold, even for Goldman Sachs. It’s hard to comprehend that much money, so think of it like this: If you paid out $100,000 a day, every day for 28 years, you’d pay off just one billion dollars. So, wow, imagine having to pull Five Big B’s out of your wallet! That’s enough to make even the most arrogant and avaricious high-finance flim-flammer think twice before risking such scams, right? Thus, these negotiated settlements between the Justice Department and the big banks will effectively deter repeats of the 2008 Wall Street debacle… right?

Actually, no.

The chieftains of the Wall Street powerhouse say they are “pleased” to swallow this sour slug of medicine. It’s not because they’re contrite and eager to make amends.  Wall Street bankers don’t do contrite. They are pleased (even thrilled) because this little insider secret: Thanks to Goldman’s backroom dealing with prosecutors, the settlement is riddled with special loopholes that could eliminate nearly $2 billion from the publicized “punishment.”

For example, the deal calls for the felonious bank to put a quarter-billion dollars into affordable housing, but generous federal negotiators put incentives and credits in the fine print that will let Goldman escape with paying out less than a third of that. Also, about $2.5 billion of the settlement is to be paid to consumers hurt by the financial crisis. But the deal lets the bank deduct almost a billion of this payout from its corporate taxes — meaning you and I will subsidize Goldman’s payment. As a bank reform advocate puts it, the problem with these settlements “is that they are carefully crafted more to conceal than to reveal to the American public what really happened here.”

Also, notice that the $5 billion punishment is applied to Goldman Sachs, not the “Goldman Sackers.” The bank’s shareholders have to cough up the penalty, rather than the executives who did the bad deeds. Goldman Sachs’ CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, just awarded himself a $23 million paycheck for his work last year. That work essentially amounted to negotiating the deal with the government that makes shareholders pay for the bankers’ wrongdoings — while he and other top executives keep their jobs and pocket millions. Remember, banks don’t commit crimes — bankers do.

One more reason Wall Street bankers privately wink and grin at these seemingly huge punishments is that even paying the full $5 billion would only be relatively painful. To you and me, that sounds like a crushing number — but Goldman Sachs raked in $33 billion in revenue last year, so it’s a reasonable cost of doing business. After all, Goldman sold tens of billions of dollars in the fraudulent investment packages leading to the settlement, so the bottom line is that crime can actually pay — if it’s big enough.

 

By: Jim Hightower, Featured Post, The National Memo, May 4, 2016

May 5, 2016 Posted by | Big Banks, Corporate Crime, Financial Crisis, Wall Street | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“When #NeverTrump Becomes #ImWithHer”: Pulling The Lever, How #NeverTrump Became #NeverEverTrump

Some of the right’s most prominent conservatives are getting Ready for Hillary.

Donald Trump is now the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee, as Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted tonight.

And the conservative activists who adamantly oppose him are now in the process of making peace with backing the Democrats’ eventual nominee. Because there’s one person they fear and loathe more than Hillary—and they say they won’t blink.

Leon Wolf, the editor of the conservative site RedState.com, told The Daily Beast shortly after Cruz dropped out that he’s considering a Clinton vote.

“If it’s a competitive election, I probably will be compelled to vote for Hillary,” he said.

“Hillary is ideologically not where I am,” he continued, adding that he thinks she did a poor job heading the State Department. “But I do feel pretty confident that she would actually be a better president than Trump. I wouldn’t go to bed every night worrying about a mushroom cloud opening up somewhere in the world because of some insane thing Trump had done.”

Ben Howe, a RedState contributing editor and prominent conservative activist, said he will work to stop Trump from winning the general election—and that he realizes this means he’ll be helping Hillary.

“If it came down to it and I knew that my vote might make a difference, or that Hillary might be able to defeat him in my precinct, then yes, I’d pull the lever,” he said. “Either way, I have to make peace with helping her by default. Pulling the lever would basically be a technicality.

“I said I’m Never Trump,” he added. “I am.”

Glenn Beck, a proxy religious zealot who feverishly backed Cruz to the point where he was fasting on his behalf recently, was also disappointed with the available general-election options. Jonathan Schreiber, a representative for Beck, told The Daily Beast “NO WAY!” when asked if Beck would consider voting for Clinton over Trump. When pressed as to whether Beck would resign himself to backing the presumptive Republican nominee, Schreiber wrote “#nevertrump.”

Similarly, Dan McLaughlin, an editor at RedState.com and a stalwart against Trump, told The Daily Beast that the options were grim.

“I will not vote for either Hillary or Trump, ever,” he wrote in an email. “I will stay in the GOP to fight for its soul until a viable alternative emerges.”

He added that he would submit a “third-party protest vote” and vote “down-ticket Republican” in the general election.

The RedStaters aren’t anomalies. A recent Morning Consult poll of Cruz supporters indicates that 13 percent of the Republicans who back him will vote for Clinton, and that upward of one-quarter of them aren’t sure who to back.

Freshman Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, of Nebraska, reiterated his opposition to Trump without going so far as endorsing Hillary.

“Reporters keep asking if Indiana changes anything for me,” he tweeted. “The answer is simple: No.”

He then linked to a Facebook post he wrote about his opposition to Trump.

And Kevin Madden, a senior adviser for Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, said he has no plans to back the Republican Party’s next nominee.

“This is a time for regrouping and prioritizing,” he said, noting that he won’t de-register as a Republican. “My attention, and I hope that of other Republicans, will be focused on helping leaders in the party focus on ideas and the big challenges that still remain. Leaders like Paul Ryan and Ben Sasse and Kelly Ayotte.

“And on voting for Trump: Absolutely not,” he added.

Erick Erickson, a conservative talk-radio host and founder of RedState, told The Daily Beast shortly after Cruz dropped out that he will de-register as a Republican if and when Trump is officially nominated.

“If Trump is the Republican Party nominee, I won’t be a Republican,” he said. “I’m not down with white supremacists.”

He added that Trump’s nomination will brand the GOP as the party of white supremacists.

“You’ve got Klan members, David Duke, the Aryan Nation supporting Donald Trump,” he said. “If the Republican Party is willing to go along with that, then I think it’s fair branding, I think it’s very fair. If Republicans aren’t going to stand up to having their party hijacked by a group of Aryan Nation-types, then they get what they deserve.”

Mark Salter, a former speechwriter for Sen. John McCain, was even less coy.

“The GOP is going to nominate for President a guy who reads the National Enquirer and thinks it’s on the level,” he tweeted. “I’m with her.”

 

By: Betsy Woodruff, The Daily Beast, May 4, 2016

May 5, 2016 Posted by | Conservatives, Donald Trump, GOP, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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