As the Democratic National Convention gets started tonight in Philadelphia, the establishment media is desperate to make the case that the Democratic party is as fractured as the GOP was exposed to be when Ted Cruz refused to endorse Donald Trump last week. And despite the fact that Bernie Sanders has made an unequivocal endorsement of Hillary Clinton, they. Just. Won't. Let. It. Go.
As evidence of how chaotic things are, the media is popularizing videos for Sanders malcontents, much the way they did the Clinton discontents in the wake of Barack Obama's ascend to the Democratic nomination in 2008. Even everyone's favorite number crunching clearinghouse FiveThirty Eight has an article titled "Why Clinton Might Have A Tough Time Flipping The Sanders Holdouts."
And that, my fellow adults, is where today's conversation starts. In the FiveThirtyEight piece, writer Harry Enten points to what he believes is Clinton's key difficulty bringing Sanders supporters into the fold: fewer Sanders supporters are actually committed to voting at all, let alone choosing whom to cast a ballot for. Enten points out that less than 80% of Sanders backers voted in 2012, compared to nearly 90% of Clinton, Trump and Cruz voters. And, Enten clarifies, a gap remains even when one controls for young voters who only became eligible this election.
And 15% or so of the Bernie voters who are frequented about in the media as being hashtag-never-Hillary purists comes perilously close to this group of general nonvoters. If these are the same audiences, that has two implications.
First, these voters don't actually care about the country. They care about getting their candidate in, and when they can't, they will pick up their marbles and go home. So be it. As I have said to many, I question the patriotism of anyone who believes that their personal feelings are of such import that others need to adjust our tone for them to even think about doing the right thing for our country. Really, Democrats are better off registering new voters and working to get out people of color than coddling these self-important, white-privileged, delusional rage lovers.
Second, because these are general nonvoters, most GOTV software will make it easy to weed them out. It will be easy for the Clinton-Kaine campaign and Democrats to leave them out of the "persuade" list while designing phone banks or precinct walk operations. Because by not making it a habit to vote, these people have self-selected themselves out of the universe of voters who must be convinced, thereby saving Democratic staff and volunteers valuable time. In this way, we really should be thankful!
Here it is critical to separate mere Sanders supporters from what FiveThirtyEight calls "Bernie Holdouts." Bernie supporters will, by and large vote for Hillary Clinton. "Bernie holdouts", on the other hand, will only be concerned about their own hurt feelings. But thankfully, they will be easy to spot and ignore.
For these "holdouts," we have a message: as my friend Trevor would say, the Democratic party does not want or need your vote. Go and be happy under the delusion of your privilege that your hurt feelings are more important than America's future, or even that you love your country. We can, and will, win without you. All of us - Clinton supporters, well-grounded Sanders supporters, independents and even Republicans who are fleeing the Donald Trump circus - will help build a coalition that carries forward the torch of progress that President Obama will pass to Hillary Clinton this week.
And that is also our message to the media trying their damnest to fake a rift that does not exist in the Democratic party. The people you are highlighting are not Democrats, and I am ashamed to count them among my fellow Americans. These people are not the Democrats' target audience in this election. Our target audience is Americans who truly are capable of putting our country first, those who are far too often forgotten, those who are voiceless, those who need a raise, women who work hard but don't make their fair share, Americans who believe it is time to end discrimination against LGBT people, those who believe in America as the nation of immigrants, and those who understand what a Donald Trump presidency would mean for our country, our people, and our world.
Those who wish not to join that fight, that is their right. But these cowards should not be the center of media attention.
Addendum: Evidently, a bunch of Bernie delegates are busy trying to turn the Convention floor into mayhem currently. I suppose we can thank them for destroying their own image, and that of the "movement" they think they have. Use this as a limited open thread for reactions as well.