Friendly Reminder: The Democrats Are Still Divided–And It’s A Deep Schism Too

Matt Vespa
|
Posted: Jul 27, 2016 4:10 PM
 Friendly Reminder: The Democrats Are Still Divided–And It’s A Deep Schism Too

Hillary Clinton is the nominee. Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke on behalf of the Vermont Delegation, where he asked the rules be suspended so that a voice vote could be carried to give the former secretary of state the nomination. It was pretty much unanimous when Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the DNC secretary, held the voice vote. Prior to this motion that was set to foment unity between the two camps, Clinton has far surpassed the 2,383-delegate threshold to clinch the Democratic nomination.

The Democratic National Convention was marred by instances of party clashes between the Bernie and Clinton camps, some of which were quite ugly. Pro-Sanders attendees in the convention hall booed every time the speakers mentioned Clinton’s name on Monday night—even during the invocation prayer. Sen. Sanders addressed the convention that night, which some said pulled the event from the brink of disaster. But did it? Yes, we see the Pew poll showing that 90 percent of Sanders supporters plan to back Clinton in the general, which all but ends Trump’s outreach efforts to nab disaffected Bernie-ites on issues, like trade. Yet, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver noted that the poll only offered Sanders and Trump as the option, and postulated that 30 percent of Sanders supporters might break for the Green Party’s Jill Stein or Libertarian Gary Johnson. Moreover, he added that undecided and won’t vote weren’t options either in the survey.

That’s a big number. But Silver said that it’s “low-hanging fruit” for Clinton, as the two-way split breaks for her heavily. Still, he noted that Sanders supporters a) aren’t happy with the Democratic Party; b) they’re mostly independents, so them floating into the Stein and Johnson camps (and helping Trump) is a real possibility; and c) they’re not frequent voters, so we also have a turnout issue. Still, Silver noted that party unity and Sanders voters coming back into the Clinton fold isn’t a done deal. Another issue about Sanders people coming home is that this Pew poll was taken before WikiLeaks released those DNC emails that confirmed what many have thought was going on within those halls, which is the establishment trying to wreck Sanders’ chances. For some of these Sanders voters who were on the fence about Clinton, this might have soured the call for unity.

As Katie noted, some of these folks find Clinton so disgusting that they might pull the lever for Trump, as they see him as the lesser of two evils. There is a defined Never Trump movement within the Republican Party, who staged a rather disastrous bid to stop the billionaire’s candidacy. Yet, is there a significant Never Hillary faction within the Democratic Party? We all know the most, if not all, Republicans are in that camp—let’s see what post-convention polling finds from this group. From the walkouts that occurred last night, and the chants of “Bernie or jail” in the hallways of the Wells Fargo Center as the roll call vote was taken last night—it seems that many Sanders supporters are still fuming over their candidates loss, or maybe a combination of that and the DNC emails.

We also have to remember that while this is low-hanging fruit for the Clinton campaign to lock up the progressive coalition Sanders built, she’s a terrible campaigner who could very well sabotage her own chances with these people.

While last night drew chants of Black Lives Matter, let’s not forget that one of Clinton’s first encounters with this group was an utter disaster at an event in New Hampshire. As Clinton’s exchange with the activists grew more intense—they were talking about the roots of white violence—she eventually responded by saying, “Respectfully, if that is your position then I will talk only to white people about how we are going to deal with the very real problems.” Overall, the group criticizes Clinton, especially when Bill is out on the stump, for passing the 1994 omnibus crime bill that’s been pegged as the legislation that greatly increased the rates of incarceration for black Americans through mandatory minimum sentencing. Bill Clinton recently told the NAACP Convention that while most people in jail are in state prison, “the federal law set the trend,” and that people are now in jail for far too long. Back in April, Hillary had a rocky time defending her husband’s legislation.

It could be the same for her Sanders outreach post-convention.