Bernie Sanders resounding New Hampshire Primary victory coming just eight days after the Senator’s insurgent campaign finished in a virtual dead-heat with the anointed-one Secretary Hillary Clinton has the progressive wing of the party feeling giddy this morning. But ultimately the Democratic Party’s nominating process isn’t a straight vote – we learned that in 2008 when then Senator Hillary Clinton won more primary votes than now-President Barack Obama yet did win the nomination and saw it again in Iowa as straight raw vote totals have still yet to be released. Party bosses don’t control this process like they did in let’s say 1968 when Hubert Humphrey was selected by President Johnson and other leaders despite not having run a single primary. However, this isn’t 1972 or 1976 where the rules have been so reformed as a reaction to 1968, where anyone can be nominated and George McGovern and Jimmy Carter, two clear outsiders carried the Democratic banner.
This is the age of super-delegates and the party making the entire means for participation in the nominating process is often too cumbersome for average activists. No doubt it is better than 1968 but is less accessible than 1972, which did lead to nomination of McGovern and a convention debacle on Miami Beach. The McGovern nomination itself will be a pretext for many party regulars as to why Sanders must be blocked, though at this point in time, the available General Election polling we’ve seen does not show Sanders to be nearly as weak as McGovern or Walter Mondale were when they were nominated. So Hillary Clinton as things stand will be the party’s nominee. But should things stand this way given Clinton even more than in 2008 is a fatally flawed candidate?
New Hampshire exit polls indicated that anywhere between 80% and 90% of Democratic Primary voters who used trust and honesty as a barometer for making a choice in the race selected Senator Sanders. That is not some random statistic but a clear reflection of the image Secretary Clinton now has outside of Democratic activist and insider circles. A dishonest pol who is willing to deceive the public in order to survive politically. Whether or not this is a fair characterization is NOT the issue. The bottom line is Clinton is a defined candidate this flawed going into a General Election against ANY Republican. That’s a reality Democrats must come to grips with whether they want to or not.
It doesn’t help in the honesty category that Secretary Clinton is married to President Bill Clinton. Even Democrats knew of Clinton’s flaws, one of the most memorable quotes being from then- Senator Bob Kerrey who said,
“Clinton’s an unusually good liar. Unusually good”
Secretary Clinton is a defined candidate. And her arrogance is beyond pale – why someone who was seriously considering running for President made paid speeches to the groups she did defies any logical explanation or justification. The national media has for years droned on about how Bill Clinton is the “best political strategist around,” but in this case he let his wife down immensely. This is an issue that is unlikely to go away and only adds the the judgement questions circulating over any number of other matters.
This leaves the Democratic Party in a position where they run with Clinton or find a way to manipulate the process to select another nominee who is more palatable in a potential General Election.
I don’t know the party rules the way I used to and quite frankly don’t know the mechanism for replacing a nominee or putting someone in nomination at the convention and having delegates released to support that person anymore. But that is probably something Democrats should at least be discussing given Secretary Clinton’s obvious weakness and that people’s opinions of her are largely hardened and unlikely to change.
TFS readers, have your say on this. It’s time for creative solutions and some real introspection as to whom the party might nominate.