Friday, June 17, 2016

Bernie Doesn't Understand What Leverage is

Yesterday I argued that Bernie has overplayed his hand.

I'm far from the only one making this observation.

"Sanders loses convention leverage."

"Bernie's summer was supposed to be about strengthening his hand for the Democratic convention. But since the California primary, his position has gotten weaker."

"Leverage: it’s the one thing Bernie Sanders’ advisors and aides consistently point to when asked why, exactly, he’s formally staying in the Democratic primary race that he’s lost to Hillary Clinton."

"But it's the one thing he’s been bleeding every day ever since he dropped California’s primary by a much wider-than-expected margin last week. Sanders’ summer was supposed to be all about building leverage for the Democratic convention, providing him with a better hand to play as he presses Clinton to accept his policy positions and party reform suggestions. Now, the people closest to him aren’t sure how exactly to get it back."

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Well, here's the thing. I never really got why he believes he has so much leverage in the first place. He lost and it wasn't that close. There's only so much leverage you get for that.

Of course, it's gotten weaker. And will continue to. He lost by double digits. There isn't much in the way of even fake leverage. Like he hoped to make a big to do out of maybe winning California by 2 points. Then he lost by double digits.

"His first and most prominent endorsers have jumped off the bandwagon, congratulating and in some cases endorsing Clinton — from Sen. Jeff Merkley to Rep. Raul Grijalva, and from the Communications Workers of America to of the big-name Democrats and groups who steadfastly remained neutral in the primary have flocked to Clinton over the past week, from President Barack Obama to Sen. Elizabeth Warren to the AFL-CIO. Even Sanders' highest-profile congressional endorsee, Nevada’s Lucy Flores, lost her primary bid on Tuesday despite his cash injection into her campaign."

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Yes, they've jumped off the bandwagon. You know who they were? His few super delegates. This was the point Matt Yglesias had made before the Cali primary. He won't be able to flip SDs-to the contrary, he'd lose what little support he had.

Coincidentally, Jeff Weaver admits they 'aren't currently lobbying super delegates and don't plan to in the near future.'

It's a rather bare bones way of saying the party's over and you've lost.

But I see nothing the last few days that makes you think that Bernie can be any kind of party leader in the future.

He ditched the Dems historic filibuster on guns and he is being something of a poor sport in not formally conceding the race much less congratulating her on her historic win.

But the recent polls underscore the fact that she really doesn't need him as much as he thinks.

"What’s unclear now is just how far Sanders can push Clinton, whose campaign is coming off one of its strongest stretches yet, and who has fully pivoted to taking on Trump with a series of speeches and an ad barrage that the real estate developer shows no signs of being able to match."

"Far from just leading Trump in national polls, Clinton’s allies now note that battleground state surveys also suggest she has little reason to fear that tepid support from Sanders backers could doom her."

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Overall, then, Bernie's theory of leverage has proven no more realistic than his path to victory was or his overall police prescriptions were. The how of things has always bored him.

Yet this has turned out to matter.

There is not all that much leverage for a guy who finished fairly distant second and lost most big, urban, diverse states by double digits.

And his 'leverage' is only going to get less.

How does he get it back? There's no way. Leverage is when you're an active candidate who can win the nomination.

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