MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reminded Democrats that the party is not divided. This is how primaries operate, and at the end, they get messy. There is nothing unusual about the way the 2016 Democratic primary is ending.
Maddow said, “At this point in the primary process, it’s always like this. There is always acrimony and upset between remaining candidates at this part of the race. Parties just do this. It is to be expected. It’s very, very, very rarely fatal.”
It is important to note that what is happening between Clinton and Sanders right now is completely normal. Sanders is going through the process of realizing that he is not going to be the Democratic nominee. Feelings are hurt, and bitterness has been on full display. Meanwhile, the Clinton people and the Democratic Party want Sanders to get on with it because they want to turn all of their attention towards Donald Trump.
Maddow later added, “So there’s a lot going on right now. Pick your poison. The Democratic Party have a lot of real fish to fry right now. They’ve got real things to work on. They’ve got a primary that’s still happening. They’ve got disputes still to settle, but this idea that the Sanders and Clinton split will be fatal, or even that a Sanders protest movement would be catastrophic for the party if one emerges, we know from history that that’s just what it feels like at this point in the process. And the acrimony is real, the tensions are real. The anxiety over it is real in the Democratic Party and on the center left. But, you know what? It’s kind of what primaries are for. It’s why they take this long. That’s what it’s supposed to feel at this point in the process. This isn’t a bug in the system this year. This is just the system.”
Nothing that is happening on the Democratic side is new. The situation was much more tense in 2008 when the Clinton campaign fought Barack Obama until the end of the primary. Clinton was hearing the same calls from Democrats in 2008 that Sanders hears today. Clinton supporters were promising never to vote for Obama, and claiming that the process was rigged.
This is just what happens when primaries end. Things get messy. What also happens is that the media blows the messiness way out of proportion and adds to the anxiety. In part, this is a deliberate strategy so that the press can write a slew of stories about how the party had come together when in reality it was never that far apart.
The Republican Party has deep ideological divides. The Democratic Party does not. Democrats need to chill. Everything will be fine. The process will be finished in a few weeks, and all attention can be devoted to beating Donald Trump in November.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association