Why Moveon endorsed Bernie Sanders

[Read the post]


I think the MoveOn membership is wrong. Not because Sanders isn’t great, and usefully contributing to debate.

But he’s unlikely to win the House. He’s not vetted against right wing smear the way HRC is – they’ve spent their powder on her, to no substantial effect. No one’s ever gone negative on him in a big way. I don’t know what that will look like.

I think HRC will do better at winning the few competitive seats down the ballot. And downticket races in Congress, state legislatures, governorships are where an enormous policy battle is happening. Redistricting happens at the state level. It’s important.

Turnout has been assured by the GOP. Latinos are going to register voters in numbers we’ve never seen. Good for them.

Turnout in deep blue districts doesn’t help with the House. Hillary is moderate in ways that are calculated to win purple state races, and given the weak field on the GOP side, winning the presidency but losing downticket is not an outcome I want to plan for.


And three years into the HRC administration when we’re in a couple of new wars and Wall Street has called in all its Clinton Foundation IOU’s, are you gonna claim you never saw it coming???


But if the electorate looks like it did in 2014, when Republicans gained ground across the country and seized control of the Senate, Democrats will be in trouble.

Turnout in a presidential year never “looks like” turnout in an off year. Wouldn’t a political writer know that?

Also, it used to be doctrine that being “moderate” is the way to win swing voters, but history doesn’t really agree.


Worth noting that MoveOn was founded to support the first Clinton administration (“censure and move on” in re: the BJ scandal), before morphing into support for a broader set of liberal issues during the awfulness of the Bush Jr. years.

While I think they’re being over-optimistic about Sanders’ chances and ability to get out the vote in the general elections, endorsements like this are important. Enough of them will force Clinton to take policy positions that are at odds with her pro-Wall Street and pro-security/surveillance state inclinations.


I disagee. Too many moderates view her as a horrible person and more “business as usual” politics. Not sure why you say “no substantial effect”, because her shenanigans has left a bad taste in many people’s mouths. Honestly, I think if she wasn’t a women the democrats would have written her off years ago. How quick we forgot that a charismatic upstart with minor political experience compared to hers still managed to get the nomination nearly 8 years ago.

I would never vote for Hillary. I would consider voting for Sanders.


I don’t think that’s quite accurate. He’s been in politics for YEARS, and as a man who includes the word SOCIALIST on his platform. He’s a veteran of smear on the local level (where the Republican smear has been especially awful in recent years - presidents need more people to like them). Bernie seems to manage smear in an entirely different way than any other candidate, because the only people who seem to be terrified of him are terrified of him for exactly the right reasons - they’re wealthy. You can’t get Bubba the Low-Info Voter to be afraid of Bernie Sanders very easily. And right wing smear feeds on fear.

Don’t get me wrong, Hillary is a tank when it comes to Republican poo-flinging, but it’s been going on for long enough that Bubba the Low-Info Voter doesn’t trust her and will vote against her, more for vague associations than for actual reasons.

That’s why I think the Electability point on MoveOn is worth noting: The only people Sanders alienates are the paranoid wealthy elites. And none of the candidates look really great from their perspective (Rand Paul is probably the closest, and he’s got a bit of a snowball’s chance right now, though Jeb or Rubio might be acceptable in a pinch). If Sanders gets people to the polls, the Dems win. Hillary and Republican Idiots can’t be counted on to do that as reliably.


/r/SaundersforPresident made a big push to sway this online poll, so the results might be a little skewed and misleading. I don’t think the Clinton campaign is spending near the same amount of effort to mobilize the online community that Sanders is.

1 Like

That was pretty much the dynamic that Obama faced in 2008 when he won the nomination over Hillary. He’d never faced smear campaigns like the people condemning him for something his former pastor said once or the Birther movement or the never-ending ridicule of people yelling “community organizer!” He made it through all that.


Obama was far more crafty than Sanders in 2008, at least with how he promised a win to the party.

1 Like

His refusal to create a super PAC means he’s going to get massively outspent by whoever his opponent is, and would probably lose.

The Sanders campaign isn’t mobilizing the online community, the online community is mobilizing the Sanders campaign.


They’re not being “over-optimistic” because we’re not in Vegas putting down a hundred bucks on someone. I know for a lot of Americans, this kind of mentality rules their voting decision, which is exactly why we’ve had several decades of useless tools of Corporate America in government. Move On is endorsing the person they think is the best candidate, which I’m actually surprised at because Move On isn’t a very radical group; they usually do play it safe. But Sanders has done so well in America that even the “play it safe” Democrats are realizing he is their only shot at victory, and once they admit that to themselves, then all of a sudden they can indulge in the amazing act of voting for someone you believe in, rather than the lesser of two evils.

As a lifelong cynic of American Politics, I am shocked we’ve even made it this far, but cautiously optimistic that, for the first time in my life, people might actually pick the person they believe in rather than the simply the person handed down to them. I guess a lot of people really did believe in Obama for some bizarre reason, so we can see that as a precursor to Sanders, the difference being that Obama gave you no genuine reason to believe Hope and Change were really going to happen (other than by his speech) whereas Sanders has a lifetime track record standing behind his words.

In terms of “electability” there’s no contest. The United States is not going to vote for Hillary. Too many people hate her for too many different reasons. The DNC has been fueling her campaign this entire time, and despite all their best efforts, Sanders is still coming out on top. Even if you hate him, even if you just want to play the odds against Republicans, your best bet, your ONLY bet is Sanders. If she gets the nomination, we will have a Republican President.


Even with all the hatred against Clinton, the electorate is going to do what it usually does in the general election: there will be an embarrassingly low turnout; the vote will be split almost 50-50 between the Dem and whatever candidate ends up in the driver’s seat of the GOP clown car; a few swing districts in a few swing states will decide the race; and each party will throw many millions of dollars into those states and districts (along with some dirty tricks) to make sure things go their way.

Sanders, being a candidate with actual principles, has major disadvantages in that rotten context. He doesn’t take SuperPAC money, he’s not a mud-slinger. He also doesn’t have Obama’s charisma, which is necessary to capture the low-information Dem voter. The communities he’ll turn out (which won’t include the groundswell of African-American voters Obama enjoyed) won’t be enough to make the difference in swing districts. And from what I can see his ground operations aren’t as sophisticated as Obama’s were or well-funded enough to create a reasonable facsimile as Clinton will do.

Also, the DNC isn’t going to get behind him because while they could swallow Obama’s campaign of hopey-changey rhetoric they can’t do the same when there’s a real chance Sanders could turn it into action. They’re in the tank for Clinton for very specific ideological reasons.

Don’t get me wrong: I’d vote for Sanders over Clinton any day, but their chances are about equal in the general, with a disadvantage for him in the swing states. If she is the nominee I won’t be voting for her, but none-the-less my solidly blue state and district will (just as it would go for Sanders). The best I can realistically expect is for Sanders to push her to the left, which is why he got into the race in the first place.

The on-line community is taking the initiative in supporting the Sanders campaign rather than vice-versa. His in-house tech game is underwhelming.

Clinton distrusts and dislikes reaching out via digital media because (as 2008 demonstrated to her) those communities expect two-way engagement instead of just accepting the top-down diktat of “Hillary Knows Best.” But in the general election she and the DNC will throw enough money at the problem that they’ll edge out the GOP, which has a similar antipathy toward campaigning on the Internet.

I’m honestly still on the fence. I agree with Bernie about many more issues than I do Hillary, and I think that they are both very electable this year, given the bloodshed and buffoonery on the GOP side, but I can’t help but feel that Hillary would manage Congress better as president, and actually be able to get more stuff done.

Bernie supporters say that he has the grassroots movement to get things done, but at the end of the day you need laws passed. And that requires working with a hostile, divided congress. I think Hillary is enough of a politician (and probably is owed enough favors) that she can get votes.

I think enacting 30% of Hillary’s ho-hum-liberal agenda would be preferable to enacting 5% of Bernie’s super-liberal agenda. (It’s great that he supports universal healthcare. Is there a chance it’s going to happen without the democrats getting super-majorities in congress? No.)

But I’m still trying to be swayed, because I want to imagine a world where Bernie wins and is magically able to deliver all his promises.

  1. He’ll say no to permanent war.

Thank you very much Bernie!


I have been listening to Bernie for YEARS on the Thom Hartmann show. Every time he opens his mouth, sense comes out. I LOVE Bernie and wish I could contribute more to his campaign!


Just long enough to get elected. After that, what’s our accountability mechanism for the next four years? For as much as I do still like Obama as president, I think the young optimistic crowd has learned a pretty big lesson about making sure a politician’s rhetoric is backed up by supporting actions before being elected, and they’re applying it this time around. While Hillary is talking a good talk with the left’s base now, her track record (and donor base) betrays her intentions. Bernie, on the other hand, has been walking the walk for decades (I think his interactions with groups like Black Lives Matter have improved his ability to communicate his agenda, but not significantly altered his message), and the only thing he’s really needed to be pushed left on is his plan for dealing with gun violence. Addressing gun violence is important to me, but I think it’s symptomatic enough of deeper problems that I’d rather have someone in charge who will address those issues first.

Well, I think that’s a factor of engagement. If Bernie is able to generate more energy (which, ideally, translates into votes) in the election than Hillary, it can have broad down-ballot repercussions. Your party doesn’t get supermajorities in Congress by putting ho-hum people on the ballot. I think that’s especially true for the Democrats, whose constituencies are demonstrably less consistent in showing up to the polls (consider how much more liberal the makeup of a presidential year is, compared to a midterm election).

Of course, being able to pass legislation that advances your agenda also depends on your own party members not running away from it right after the election is over, too, which was frankly another big problem with the Democrats in Congress under Obama. (It also depends on being able to trust the other party not to be duplicitous jerks, or at least recognizing when that’s happening and proceeding without them, but that’s a whole other ball of wax.)


So here’s my attempt at swaying you.

  1. Obama managed to get nothing passed in Congress, despite his complete desire to play the game, appeal to the other side, etc. What makes you think Hillary is going to do better than Barack Obama?

  2. What makes you think Hillary even wants to get stuff done? This is the thing I don’t get: she has a lifetime track record of serving corporate interests. She was on WalMart’s board of directors from 1986 to 1992- think about that. In 1986, we did not live in a land of corporate-controlled maga-monopolies. There were still lots of regulations in place, and a culture of keeping things somewhat fair (I say somewhat because things were never fair, but compared to where we are now, Reagan’s 1986 seems like the Golden Years.) By 1992 WalMart was well on its way to become the mega-giant it is, running on the engine of exploited, cheap labor. Again, Hillary was on the BOARD OF DIRECTORS at that time. You know how much $$$ she made thanks to WalMart?

Since then, she and Bill have been on a one-track ride to widen the gap between rich and poor. She may say “it takes a village…” but she certainly doesn’t act that way. Bill and Hillary successfully campaigned for things like the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act” which directly hurt single mothers and other working class folks struggling to make ends meet. You’ll notice that the Republicans were very happy to work with Clinton to make this happen since it totally supports their agenda. This is the kind of “getting things done” you can expect if HRC wins the presidency. The increase in prison labor (connected to the increase in African American men in prison), a completely hawkish approach to war in the Middle East and elsewhere… this is all part of Hillary’s legacy.

I’m not making this stuff up- this is how she has lived her life. So if these are the values you hold, then by all means vote for her. And if you think the answer to America’s problems lie in a politician who “knows how to play the system” and all that, well, that’s the exact argument Progressives have been using every 4 years to not support people like Ralph Nader, Howard Dean, etc. Each time, the business-as-usual frontrunner wins, and each time, we get another 8 years of business as usual.

Given all that, I’m not sure what there is to be on the fence about. You’re not going to enact 30% of a ho hum agenda, we will enact, quite literally, zero of anything progressive, and 100% of everything Hillary stands for, because in many, many ways, what she wants and what the Republicans want are the same. And in ways they differ, like abortion, whether it’s Sanders or her on board, things will play out the same.

I can’t stress how important it is for folks like yourself to support Sanders this year- an opportunity like this comes once a lifetime, and we only have a chance if the folks on the fence decide to support Sanders. Otherwise, you know- same ol’ shit.