Bernie Sanders Leadership


(This was written several weeks ago.)

Is the reason that only one of Bernie Sanders fellow Senators is supporting his candidacy for President because of the kind of leadership he is currently showing?

It seems like some of the criticism of his legislative work has been that he takes extreme positions and then refuses to compromise.  That appears to be what he is doing now, faced with the prospect that he will not get enough votes to win the Democratic nomination.  He is digging in rather than show the leadership that would make it easier for some of his most avid supporters to make the transition after the convention and support the eventual nominee.

This has been said by a number of columnists in recent days: D.J Dione  Clinton and Sanders must make peace in his Washington Post column.  Eugene Robinson Sanders’s scorched-earth campaign is a gift to Trump also in the Post.

I am not suggesting that he suspend his campaign.  He is on the ballot in the remaining states and his supporters should be allowed to express their validation of what they have been fighting for so ably in the last year.  The campaign has moved the Democratic party and given attention to a number of important issues that would not have gotten the kind of attention they have.  Let’s hope that this has not been an ego campaign for Bernie and that he is serious about this being the start of a movement.

But, the movement will go nowhere if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, which she is almost sure to do, and then does not win the election in November.  That would set back the movement because of all the damage that would be done with 4 years of a Donald Trump Republican Presidency.

His current tone makes me cringe.  His insisting to his young supporters that they do have a chance to win is just deceitful.  His threats this week to the Democratic Party about letting people in.  Really?  If your candidate doesn’t win that means you can’t be part of the party?  You don’t like the rules; you can’t be part of the party?

He has to know that everything he says out on the trail can and will be used in the next phase of the campaign.  It is why you need to choose what you say carefully.

There is a new, really horrible ad out by the Republican Senate Committee against Hillary Clinton and just today I read on Facebook that a friend of mine had not carefully questioned some of the accusations in the ad and written a Facebook post apparently questioning her candidacy.  Then he saw the WA Post’s Fact checker column addressing the ad and realized that he had responded too quickly.  But, that is exactly what happens in campaigns.  People hear things, believe them and can’t un-hear them.  For some, who are used to politics, then can do an about face and support the very person they have been railing against.  I am just not so sure that many of the young people who have been stirred into action by Sanders will be able to make the switch.

Sanders should know this.  He has been in this game too long to not worry that he won’t be able to lead these new voters to vote for the same person he has been demonizing.  Not when he can’t bring himself to say it.  When asked point blank recently by Rachel Maddow if he does not get the nomination would he support Clinton, all he would say is that he would do everything he could to prevent Donald Trump from becoming President.  A few weeks ago all he would say is that Clinton would have to earn their vote.  Really.  Be practical Don Quixote, how do you keep Donald Trump from becoming President once Hillary wins the nomination besides supporting her candidacy, campaigning for her and showing the kind of leadership that will ensure that those voters you brought into the system will vote for her?  What game are you playing with all of our lives?

Perhaps the article is NY Times, Bernie Sanders, Eyeing Convention, Willing to Harm Hillary Clinton in the Homestretch,” tells us what he is really thinking.  He refuses to change his tone and will continue to rail against Clinton and the party.  Senator Jeff Merkley, the afore mention only Senator supporting Sanders, says at the end of this article that you (referring to the party) can’t tell people that you don’t want to hear them and then turn around and ask for their vote.  But, if you tell your supporters that the party isn’t listening to them than it will be hard for you to turn around and tell them to support the party and Senator Sanders you know that is what you will have to do if you hope to, in the end, keep Donald Trump from becoming the next President.

Bernie Sanders, you are to be admired for that campaign that you have waged so far.  You have shown that there is a way to raise the kind of money needed to run a national campaign, you have put campaign finance front and center, ditto climate change and equal pay.  Now is the time for you to show that you are a real leader and can put the needs of the nation first by showing your supporters that it is just as important to know when it is time to compromise and get things done.  That is why so many Democrats are voting for Hillary Clinton, because they, like so many of rest of the Senate Democrats that are supporting her, believe that she will, as President, show that kind of leadership.

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