It is beginning to appear that regardless the warnings from respected liberal pundits and journalists alike, there is going to be no end to the rancor among Democrats that portend an electoral disaster in November. As no small number of pundits, reporters, and opinion columnists have noted for months, it is just downright dangerous to even remark about the Democratic race for the presidential nomination. It has gotten so bad that even uttering the once safe line that “both sides do it” is still dangerous and incites substantial rage among faithful supporters; even though both sides are not doing it.
Journalists, pundits, and opinion writers are used to criticism; one can never please everyone and they damn sure should never try to please anyone. However, it is worth spending a few hundred words to warn, once again, that the level of sheer animosity and hostility roiling among Democrats does not bode well for winning anything in November.
One Washington Post opinion columnist and journalist, Jonathan Capehart, who made the mistake of putting his opinion in print joined another once-respected journalist, Rachel Maddow, in issuing a “stark warning that should be heeded.” In Maddow’s case, the warning targets the Democratic Party for not moving to tamp down the bitterness between Clinton and Sanders’ supporters that threatens to exacerbate the already extremely poor voter turnout that will only get worse in November. Capehart issued a similar warning and did the really silly thing of enraging one candidate’s supporters by reporting, albeit mildly, on the level of nastiness he suffered for daring to express his opinion.
The point that both Capehart and Maddow are desperately trying to make is that Democrats are is serious electoral trouble in November. As this column noted to incredible criticism and hostility just last week, because Republican voters, with all their faults, will turn out in record numbers to vote for whichever candidate is the eventual nominee, Democrats had better unite, register voters, or weep when a Republican wins the White House.
So as not to incur the wrath of any candidate or their passionate acolytes, or give the appearance of having a wrong opinion, taking sides, leveling criticism, or being biased, most of this little screed is a simple report about what two once-respected liberal journalists recently said. They are “once-respected” now because they lost the support and respect of some Democrats for doing what they are paid to do; having and expressing the “wrong” opinion.
In Jonathan Capehart’s article titled “A Warning To Warring Democrats In the Clinton-Sanders Race,” he wrote;
“Over the last week, I learned that supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will melt the pixels on your computer screen if you criticize him, don’t sufficiently #feelthebern or dare say something favorable about Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, backers of the former Secretary of State are no slouches in smacking down her detractors. Then there are the protectors of the legacy of President Obama who aren’t happy with the daylight Sanders is putting between himself and the man he hopes to succeed. It’s enough to make you think that one side will stay home in November if the other side wins the nomination. If that happens, Democrats would have themselves to blame for the Republican president unleashed on the nation.”
Rachel Maddow has also been raising concerns about this issue and leveled her own stark warning to “warring Democrats.” She said that “the rhetoric of a mass movement on the Democratic side and the lack of voter enthusiasm is not a good thing for the Democratic Party this year. In the case of Clinton v Sanders, this is probative (establishes proof of her point).” It is noteworthy that 41 percent of one Democratic faction would not support the “other Democrat” if their candidate is not the nominee and, as Capehart reminded, “This is what happened in 2010 and 2014 when Democrats lost both houses of Congress because their voters didn’t show up at the polls.”
Maddow and Capehart both note that regardless the incompetent and hate-mongering Republicans seeking their party’s nomination, “the Republican field is consistently making more people turn out to vote. Republicans have voted in four states so far this year and in every single one they have broken the voter turnout record for that state.” Maddow then pointed out, again, that voter turnout for Democrats is down substantially. In fact, it was down 28 percent in Iowa, it was down 13 percent in New Hampshire, and it was down 33 percent in Nevada. As Rachel Maddow said, “because lower voter turnout usually bodes well for the more conservative candidate, this is not a good thing for the Democratic Party this year.” Add in the Democrats who threaten they will sit out the election to protest the Democratic candidate they would not support, and it is a disaster for the Democratic Party this year and Americans in general for the next 8 years.
As Capehart noted in warning that if Democratic voters cannot unite and stop waging a nasty war over candidates with nearly identical goals, Republicans will not only increase their majorities in the House and Senate, they will win the White House. He reminded that, “What happened in 2010 was stunning. The Democratic drop-off was almost twice as bad as usual, and the Republican turnout was almost twice as good as usual.” In fact, between the historic election of 2008 and 2010, Democrats saw a decrease of 26 million voters, from 65 million people to 39 million people, and the GOP took over the House.
It is normal for any candidate’s supporters to be passionate, but not to the point of threatening to sit out an election. That is precisely what happened in 2010 and the same group is threatening to repeat that disaster if their candidate is not the nominee. With voter turnout on the Republican side breaking records, even with woefully inadequate and incapable candidates, Democrats have only one option to prevent a likely Republican sweep in November to keep both houses of Congress and take the White House for at least eight years.
The party and its presidential candidates can either encourage liberal voters to set aside their unprecedented hatred and vitriol for other Democratic voters and channel that energy into getting out the vote, or take responsibility for the inevitable Republican government catastrophe they will have created. That is not an opinion, it is not a criticism of any candidate, it is not taking sides, and it is damn sure not the product of a paid socialist sympathizer; it is an historical fact. A fact that was borne out in both the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections and if Democrats cannot unite, it looks increasingly like what is going to transpire in the 2016 General Election.