Bernie Sanders won’t be nominated and Hillary Clinton is fatally flawed – what next for Dems?

DNCBernie 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.


  1. Yes, you can watch on CSPAN how it was handed to Obama in 2008 .Of course the decision was made during that lengthy lunch which was not recorded.

    The Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee considered two separate challenges concerning the seating of delegations from Florida and Michigan at the national convention in Denver.

    Formal presentations were heard from the challengers and representatives of the Florida and Michigan state Democratic parties and the presidential campaigns of Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The committee then broke for an extended lunch, after which they heard motions on the challenges and remedies to provide representation by delegations at the convention. The committee voted to seat the full delegations of both Michigan and Florida with each delegate casting one half vote.

    The vote on a remedy for counting votes from the Florida delegation was unanimous in favor of the compromise. The vote on the remedy for Michigan was passed on a vote of 19 to eight, and Mr. Ickes indicated that the Clinton campaign reserved the right to appeal the decision to the credentials committee.


  2. Kartik, are you suggesting that the Reps will win the presidential election? If so, how do you suppose they will overcome the electoral college problem?


    1. Ohio, Florida and Virginia flip and it is possible Iowa, New Hampshire and Wisconsin do as well. The path is narrow but Clinton is a risk. The election would be nearly a lock with a less questionable candidate.


      1. Bruce Borkosky · ·

        seems to me that, in order for 6 states to flip, it would have to be a landslide R victory. Who among the Rep candidates do you think is strong enough to do that? Do you really think so many people would vote for Trump, for example? Seems farfetched to me


      2. I think it is possible that any of the Republican candidates except for Trump could lock up that kind of margin. Again the dynamics of the race without specific candidates favor the Democrats. It’s who the Democrats are going to nominate that is the issue. You cannot have a nominee this dogged by ethics questions that are not properly answered and expect to not have voters flip or stay home. She is so well-known to the electorate and so well-defined already it’s tough to change opinions about her. Of course if she comes forward and solves some of the issues dogging her in a positive & decisive way then it’s a new game and one the Ds win.


  3. Patti Lynn · · Reply

    I think that your final reasoning is flawed. You are, of course, more politically astute than I, therefore, I will accept most of your premises, although I disagree with some. In the final analysis, however, the Democratic Party will spend their time and money on educating Democrats regarding the need to vote, and to vote Democratic, regardless of the candidate. The Supreme Court hangs in the balance, and, I think, that fact alone will motivate democrats.


  4. Mark Lynn · · Reply

    You are right in that McGovern and Mondale will look like winners compared to Bernie if he were nominated. McGovern won 17 electoral votes, Mondale 13. Bernie would get 6 (Vermont & D.C.) End of story! This is extremely dangerous considering the wing-nuts that may be the GOP candidate. No time to play around, or enjoy philosophical purity. Save that for the college lecture halls. Furthermore, I’m appalled that any registered Democrat would actually want to give our party’s nomination to someone who isn’t a member. To repeat … Bernie Sanders is NOT now a member of the Democratic Party and NEVER has been. In fact, he renounced the Dem Senate nomination in Vermont in 2006. I find it funny that there is no pressure being put on him to join the party whose nomination he seeks. He should, if he were true to his beliefs, be seeking the nomination of the Socialist Party USA as his hero Eugene V. Debs did on four or five occasions. Think about it … a vote for Bernie is basically a vote which will elect Donald Trump or Ted Cruz as POTUS. True, Hillary is not a talented campaigner like Bill. It doesn’t come naturally to her. She is still our best bet, however.


  5. Ron Baldwin · · Reply

    Kartik, you are correct that Hillary CLinton is a fatally flawed candidate. Before Bernie Sanders entered the race and Clinton was the presumptive Democratic candidate I thought I could vote for her if I held my nose. I am 81 years old and have never missed an election since I first voted in 1956. In all those years I was a pretty near perfect yellow dog Democrat. I am a big supporter of Bernie Sanders and if it come down to Clinton versus Trump I may very well vote for Trump.


    1. Thomas Mohr · · Reply

      Ron Baldwin, Please do not vote for Donald Trump, if it comes down to him or Mrs. Clinton. I too am a big supporter of Bernie and I would enter his name on a write in ballot before voting for either Trump or Clinton. I would never consider that a wasted vote. I have never seen a candidate like Bernie willing to take on the establishment in all of my 64 years. If we as a people in this United States fail to recognize this, we may indeed be screwed. Big money and the Corporations will rule.


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