By Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk
Tribune News Service
This week’s Democratic National Convention opened with a stunning display of disunity: Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders booed and shouted down the first day’s speakers, and on Tuesday, after Hillary Clinton was formally nominated for president, they invaded the convention’s press tent to make their displeasure known. Many Sanders supporters say they won’t vote for Clinton, even at the risk of getting Donald Trump elected.
Why are these Democrats so angry? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.
Angry or not, it’s time to move on
I’m not so sure Democrats are that angry.
Yes, there are a bunch of Bernie bros in Philadelphia this week, booing and demonstrating and making a fuss. But I suspect a number of them — like Sanders himself, an independent who ran for the Democratic nomination — aren’t Democrats in the sense that they’ve spent years in the party, shaping its platform and working to elect its candidates. Instead, like Sanders, they’re insurgents, folks who attempted a hostile takeover and didn’t succeed.
But even if they are Democrats and are angry, there’s only one proper response to them at this point: It’s time to move on.
If you’re liberal and watched the anger-fest that was the Republican National Convention and still think that you shouldn’t vote for Clinton — thus giving the presidency to Trump — I don’t know what to say to you.
If you’re American and watched Trump on Wednesday ask Russia to hand over emails hacked from Clinton’s server, and you still think Trump the more deserving candidate, well, I can’t imagine an argument that would persuade you otherwise.
If you think transparency is important and you see Trump becoming the first presidential candidate in 40 years to refuse to release his tax returns, I don’t know what more is needed to ensure your support of his chief opponent.
Trump gives every sign of being the most dangerous candidate for America — and for America’s allies — since segregationist icon George Wallace ran for the Democratic nomination in 1972.
Almost all the things you think you hate about Clinton — except, possibly, on the issue of trade deals — would be worse under Trump. A Trump presidency would make America a meaner, uglier, more selfish nation.
Sanders, incidentally agrees. “It is easy to boo,” he told supporters this week. “But it is harder to look your kids in the face who would be living under a Donald Trump.”
Are there angry Democrats? Sure. Do they deserve their anger? Possibly. But you know who will make everybody a lot angrier over the next four years? Trump.
Deep problems upset Democratic voters
The Republicans may be in disarray, fielding a vulgarian of a nominee who apparently thinks the U.S. Constitution has 12 articles (it only has five) and that he “alone” can fix America’s broken system.
But the Democrats have real problems.
Clinton is viewed as deeply corrupt, and not just by the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” The left wing of the party despises her. Protestors on Monday marched through the sweltering streets of Philadelphia, chanting, “Hell no, DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary!”
Rank-and-file Democrats were also peeved to learn just days before their convention opened that their party’s leadership is corrupt, too.
A week ago, “the system is rigged” was a political cliche. After the release on Friday of more than 15,000 emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee, it’s a political fact.
In all likelihood the Russians were behind the hack. But so far nobody has disputed the content of the emails, which clearly show that the DNC was working behind the scenes to deny Sanders a real shot at the nomination. Those revelations cost DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz her job.
And for many Democrats, anger is mixed with the pain of betrayal over the discovery that their anti-establishment heroes are nothing more than party loyalists after all. How else to explain delegates screaming, “We trusted you!” when Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, claimed Clinton is the only candidate capable of getting big money out of politics?
What a joke. This is the same candidate who “earned” $250,000 to deliver a speech to big wigs at Goldman Sachs, a speech she still refuses to release to the public. And this is the same candidate whose family foundation is under federal investigation for trading donations from foreign countries for official favors when she was still serving as secretary of state.
For over a year, the pundits and the professional pols insisted that Trump was a disaster of a candidate. He wouldn’t last the summer. He would be out by January. He would never win the nomination. He could never win the presidency.
But Trump was a distraction. The real disaster was unfolding in the Democratic Party. This week, everyone got a chance to see it up close.
— Ben Boychuk
Ben Boychuk is associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal. Joel Mathis is associate editor for Philadelphia Magazine.