Lee H. wrote us a letter, asking why Bernie Sanders is allowed to run as a Democrat. How can he support the candidates down the ticket if he doesn’t believe in the party in the first place? And if he can’t help senators and representatives get elected, how can he hope to get anything passed, much less, a “revolution?”
In fact, when Bernie was upfront about it on MSNBC,
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wouldn’t say if he will turn his fundraising juggernaut toward the Democratic House and Senate campaign committees and down-ballot Democratic candidates in a Wednesday night interview on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
Host Rachel Maddow said rival Hillary Clinton has been fundraising for her campaign as well as the Democratic Party. Will the Sanders campaign begin this type of fundraising as well, Maddow asked.
“We’ll see,” Sanders said.
How much of a difference are we talking?
One particular difference between the campaigns has been generating attention on this site: Clinton raised $18 million dollars for the Democratic National Committee, to be used in the general election to support Democratic candidates, while it appears Bernie Sanders has raised none.
We already have one example of what not supporting down-ticket candidates means.
This is the problem with Bernie’s revolution: How one down-ticket election in Wisconsin shows the flaw in his political movement.
A far-right judge was elected to Wisconsin’s Supreme Court — partly, it appears, with the help of Bernie voters. . .
“Justice Rebecca Bradley was elected Tuesday to a 10-year seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, defeating state Appeals Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg in a bitter, highly charged race.”. . .
Exit poll breakdowns from Tuesday show that just under 10 percent of Sanders voters cast a ballot for Bradley, while 11.5 percent did not vote in the judicial election at all. Among Clinton voters, just under 4 percent went for Bradley, while just over 4 percent did not vote for either judge at all. Some very rough back-of-the-envelope math based on vote totals says that yes, those votes would have swung the election to Kloppenburg.
Sanders’ people reply, why should we help them if they’re not helping us?
The DNC, headed by a former Clinton campaign co-chair, has needless to say been less than enthusiastic about Bernie’s candidacy. Most people understand by now that Debbie Wasserman Shultz has been improperly using her position to favor Hillary Clinton. There is the matter of the pathetically small number of debates, hidden during Saturday nights, holidays, and football games to lower viewership and protect Hillary. Two DNC co-chairs have already come out and said that they were not consulted about the schedule, meaning DWS lied to the public about consulting them. Then one of those co-chairs was disinvited from the debate as retribution.
More specifically, the people who want Bernie’s support refuse to support him.
Why should Sanders raise money to re-elect a group of people who don’t support him or his candidacy? Despite voting with the Democrats over 90% of the time and helping them secure major victories like Obamacare, Democratic Senators have repeatedly gone to the media to denounce him as a lightweight, an irritant, or a fickle ally (meanwhile, Republicans seem more willing to praise him).
And, finally, Sanders’ people say he will help the down-ticket candidates just by winning.
Bernie Sanders is the candidate most likely to win in the general election—as new polls continue to show—meaning he is the most likely to score down-ballot victories for Democrats. This makes sense, because there are several demographic factors giving him an advantage. He has the overwhelming support of independents, whereas Hillary has lukewarm support from them at best, giving him a huge general election advantage. He also has crossover appeal to Republicans, earning up to 25% of their support in his home state.
So, to recap, down-ticket Democrats are upset that they are not getting financial support from Bernie, even though they have overwhelmingly supported Hillary and spoke against him. However, if Bernie wins the nomination, his coattails will probably be big enough to help Dems all the way down the line.
As Bernie would say, “We’ll see.”