That’s Democracy. It’s one of the world’s best. It is the world’s most important. The process wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t categorically unfair.
This time California counted – at least if it was an overwhelming victory for Senator Sanders, but it wasn’t. With a great deal of new Democratic registrants, Secretary Clinton won handily.
And for those of you wondering how, here is one example. I had a conversation with a well known graffiti-removing Humboldt County Democrat yesterday and asked him for whom he would be voting for president. He said Hillary and this surprised me because we are often on the same page politically.
When I asked him why he gave reasons with which I couldn’t disagree. $15 minimum wage nation wide was probably unworkable, he didn’t believe that free college for all is necessaryily a good thing because vocational school might suit some just as well. These are practical realities that I can understand and if those are your policy reasons for voting affirmatively for Hillary for President, I get it.
He also mentioned that he thought Hillary was our best chance to beat Trump. When I mentioned the polls that say otherwise, he said he didn’t believe them, in part because Bernie would be vulnerable to conservative attacks.
So as the short serendipitous meeting was ending and we were walking toward our lunch-time destinations I asked him if he had heard of Thomas Frank. He hadn’t. I recommended Thomas’ book Listen Liberal and told him it interested me because it was how the Democrats had become the party of the 10%.
He said he was part of the 10%. I told him that makes sense.
I like and respect that person and his politics. There were a lot of Democrats like him and many very different who wanted and voted for a different candidate than I did. I respect that and now will work to make Hillary the best Democrat she can be.
If there is one thing I hope we all can remember about the 2016 Democratic Primary it is the map below (source NYT) where dark green means overwhelming Sanders victories, dark blue overwhelming Clinton victories, and shades of green and blue mean less convincing wins for each. A couple of things about this map. First, these votes are from Democrats and/or people that should be within the Democratic tent. Remember that during this primary there was a fight for the heart and soul of the GOP going on to, so the people voting in the Democratic primary are almost exclusively left-of-center. This map represents people whose statements would not make you involuntarily cough up your drink out of shocking statement during a meal (with the possible exception of Democratic friends and family from West Virginia?).
Secondly, this map does not represent voting totals well. The largest population centers and their political power are barely visible.
Keeping those two things in mind, what this map shows us is a geographic and likely rural/urban divide within the Democratic Party. This is something that may be just a coincidence of geography since Bernie did make his home in Vermont and Hillary joined a political force that was from Arkansas.
But I think there is more there for which liberals must pay attention. Liberals like Elizabeth Warren have a message that will have to resonate with Democrats all over this country. I still believe the divide between Hillary and Bernie voters is less about race and ethnicity than the media would have us believe, but Bernie’s liberal message clearly didn’t have the resonance in the Southern half of our Nation that it did in the Northern half. At least in rural America.
I believe this is the residue of right-wing media and culture permeating into liberal and Democratic values and dreams. That’s my hypothesis, we’ll see what the future brings. Whatever it is, I hope those of us who believe in things like equal justice for all, universal health care, living wages, stronger Social Security, poverty which does not devastate children or adults, are paying attention to this map.
Btw, here are the final results using the 270 To Win app. This App was meant for the general election, not a primary and I used the shades of red (Hillary) and blue (Bernie) to indicate the margin of victory. (light shade <5% medium shade 15%<dark shade). Note, if this had been a general election, with D.C still outstanding, Clinton would have won 339 to 139 in the Electoral College. Kind of a blow out.
This Electoral College blow-out again emphasizes the rural nature of Bernie’s Democratic support. Clinton won the classic blue state population centers which can overwhelm national elections. This is a good thing when this is red v blue. But how will the Democrats work with this less influential, but very important aspect of their base? We’ll see.
One thing is certain though. If those that understood Bernie’s message don’t continue to fight for policy and change then the Democrats broadly will continue to focus only on how to defeat an opponent which is clearly and demonstrably no longer dealing with reality. The last 40 years have proven that this political battle alone is not enough. Democrats need to be reminded that they are the only party that will fight for those that don’t have a well balance financial portfolio. Those that were inspired by Bernie, keep up your passion and work. America needs you.