How Does the Democratic Nominee Earn Our Vote?

Don’t listen to the talking heads on cable news: Bernie Sanders supporters have every right to be angry. They have a right to be angry about what happened at the Nevada State Democratic Convention, they have a right to be angry that the Democratic Party has tried to stage-manage a coronation for Hillary Clinton, and they have a right to be angry about the corruption that has taken over our democracy.

First, let’s talk about Nevada. Despite all the hand-wringing from our so-called liberal media about rioting and chaos, there is still no real proof that things got all that out of hand and there’s no proof of any chair-throwing or other violence of any sort.

Were a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters upset that the Nevada Democratic Party stripped their candidate of some delegates? Absolutely.

Were a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters angry that the rules were changed in an undemocratic way that helped Hillary Clinton? You bet.

Did those Bernie Sanders supporters express their anger by protesting, shouting and booing? Yes, yes, they did.

And so what?

This is an election and things like that happen, especially, you know, in a democracy, where our disagreements sometimes get a little raucous.

Obviously, no one deserves to get death threats or even harassment, as Nevada’s Democratic Party chair did, but that doesn’t mean the anger Bernie Sanders supporters feel is any less real or any less legitimate.

And here’s what the corporate media won’t tell you: Bernie supporters aren’t angry at the Democratic Party because they’re obsessed with Bernie or want some old Jewish guy from Brooklyn to be president. They’re angry because they want real change and are being thwarted at every step of the way by a Democratic establishment that just wants to preserve the status quo.

What’s animating Bernie supporters -- and it’s arguably what animated some early Trump supporters as well -- is the idea that Washington doesn’t have be run as usual, that the Treasury Department doesn’t have to run by former executives from Goldman Sachs, that the FDA doesn’t have to be run by former executives from Merck or Pfizer, and that the Interior Department doesn’t have to be subservient to BP or Shell.

What’s animating Bernie supporters is the very simple and very American idea that the government should be the government, not a revolving door for corporate lackeys and special interests groups.

This is what Bernie is promising to do and what Trump has hinted at, even though in his case it’s just part of a scam he’s running on the suckers who vote Republican. In Bernie’s case, though, it’s for real, and it’s the source of most of his supporters’ passion. Just like Bernie, they want the government to work for We the People again, and just like Bernie, they understand that the Democratic establishment is as big a part of the problem as the Republican establishment.

The Reagan administration may have changed the game by doing the unthinkable and appointing industry types to cabinet positions, but both parties have followed its lead ever since.

The Obama administration is no exception. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew used to work for Citigroup. Former Attorney General Eric Holder worked at a corporate DC law firm before taking office, and he’s now returned to working at that corporate DC law firm. Robert Califf, the head of the FDA, has deep ties to Big Pharma, and is one of the most corporate FDA chiefs in history.

It’s not just the Obama administration that’s flush with corporate cronies, though. This is a Democratic Party-wide problem.

For example, Barney Frank, who now is on the board of a bank that’s being sued for running a Ponzi scheme, is going to help write the banking part of the party platform at this summer’s Democratic Convention. Allyson Schwartz, a former Democratic congresswoman who now spends her days pushing for privatized Medicare, is on the convention’s host committee. So is former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, who now spends his days lobbying for the fracking industry.

If Hillary Clinton is the nominee for president and wins, and she fails to do something about this, Bernie Sanders supporters will stay disenchanted, as they will have every right to be.

So if Democratic elites want Bernie Sanders supporters to “unify” with and rally behind their party, they better clean out their own closets first. They're going to have to, as Senator Nina Turner told me today on my radio show, "earn our votes."

And ending the corrupt revolving door in Washington DC is a vital starting place.


cccccttttt 8 years 5 weeks ago

Suggest retired industry execs only be on the list of possible regulators.

They know all the ploys of the industry to scam the government,

but are so fat and rich there is no need to act on industry behalf.


The Glenn Beck Review's picture
The Glenn Beck ... 8 years 5 weeks ago

And yet, Thom is still going to turn around and vote for #CorporateClinton if she's the nominee instead of opposing neo-liberal, uber-hawkish Hillary. Forget that!

#BernieOrBust pledge-takers will vote for a progressive, one way or another. Sheep, on the other hand, will be let to the neo-liberal slaughter. BAAaaa.

stenmawson's picture
stenmawson 8 years 5 weeks ago

Now I'm upset with you, Thom. You seem to be blinded by the fancy tinsel on the Bernie Tree. He's been a Democrat for what now, a little over a year, or less? And yet he wants to just take it over. Just like that. Just like Trump. He "points" out the same problems over and over, but solutions to the problems? No, sorry, nothing in here. Has he been a good (even great) Independent? Yes he has, for many years. But has he helped to get Democrats elected to the positions where "revolution" can really get a foothold, at the state and local level? I do not believe so. He thinks he can come in, at the top, and suddenly make all kinds of changes, paying for them with, ... well, ... a song and a dance, I guess. Ironically, the other major political party got suckered by just such a an effort from a lazy outsider, who basically found a "popular song," and beat that drum all the way to the top of the heap. Thankfully, there is still a chance for the Democrats to fight their way to another eight years of Progressive efforts, making History in the process, and getting the Country to lean ever so slightly to the progressive side of ledger. Let's hope all those who could really benefit from such an administration understand what's at stake and get themselves to the ballot box come November. All together, pushing back at the Conservative Media (why in the world do you think it's "liberal?") showing the American people why adopting the great ideas from other nations, education, health care, etc. is the way to really make America greater on into the future. I hope, Thom, that you join in that effort.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 5 weeks ago

Voting for any and all democratic candidates, even if they're so called establishment ones, is our only chance for peaceful progressive change. Wake up, McConnell and "screw the working class" Ryan lead the legislative branch, this along with four billionaire owned Supreme Court judges serving on the judicial branch, so in my opinion, Hillary is the least of our problems.

Thank goodness Bernie is speaking out, spreading the truth, the way we all thought Obama would eight years ago. Instead Obama has remained silent for reasons only known to himself. If Bernie doesn't become president, let's hope he leads a Senate majority after November.

No matter how much we think many Democrats are identical to the Teapublic party, progressive change ain't gonna happen until the Democratic party gains majority rule. We need to go from A to B before we can get to C.

If I'm certain the Democratic candidate is going to win my state, I vote Green to make my point......eventually the Green party will take over and own the Democratic Party, but not until we first destroy the Fascist controlled Teapublic Party.

Intermittent Instigator's picture
Intermittent In... 8 years 5 weeks ago

Bernie's got my vote if he's a democratic nominee.

(if I write him in, I hope lots of other people do, too.)

Jill Stein seems like a democratically-minded type.

I'd like to get to know her better... (...maybe in the final round of debates(?))

Bernie, Jill, and Il Donald (why not Gary, too?) could put on a good show.

jvgeaga's picture
jvgeaga 8 years 5 weeks ago

I supported Eugene MacCarthy (was not old enough to vote) and McGovern way back when. org polled me way back when and believed that Bernie could not

win in the US. All they would have to say is socialist and his polls would go down , even against Trump. I have always supported Bernie(from California) but now I think he is an asshole.

Ritva's picture
Ritva 8 years 5 weeks ago

Thank you, Thom. Well thought out, and I think you get what's going through my head anyway (I'm a 50 yoa Berner, btw, a Vermonter). The only thing is, Hillary has dug her hole too deep. She will not get my vote, period. Trump won't get my vote either. And I don't feel that writing in Bernie does anything. Maybe it would send a message, maybe not, but it doesn't have substance, meat. I want my vote to mean something more. I want to vote for a real person who can send the same message of displeasure while also building up a third party to hold the traditional parties' feet to the fire. Someone who represents the Revolution and has high ethical standards like Bernie.

Despite the rigging and lies, I hold out hope that Bernie is nominated. If not that, then having him thumb his nose at the Democratic Party and go Green (at this pointment Bernie owes the Democratic Party nothing, no loyalty). And if, and only if, I cannot vote for Bernie, I will go Green. I like Jill. The Young Turks did a great interview with her. Hey, maybe she'd even come on your show ;-)

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 8 years 5 weeks ago

The Reagan Democrats of the 1980s became the Clinton Democrats of the 1990s, and have secured a disturbing degree of power over the party. Many who have followed politics for some years oppose the powerful Clinton branch, and believe that saving the tree, the Democratic Party itself, requires cutting that branch off. The Dem Party bosses knew from the start that if Clinton is selected, a Republican will be elected.

We watched as Bill Clinton ended actual welfare and took the first steps to similarly "reform" Social Security, targeting the disabled. The emboldened Clinton wing in Congress began 2015 by agreeing to virtually end food stamps to the elderly poor and the disabled (cut monthly FS benefits from roughly $115 down to $10). There is no doubt that HC hopes to pick up where BC left off, phasing out Social Security.

Bill Clinton signed on to NAFTA. Before launching her campaign, Hillary Clinton was working hard at getting the TPP to Congress. Both of these agreements have only worsened conditions for ordinary working class people. Do you think all those who have been left behind by the neoliberal Clinton agenda have any interest to voting for another Clinton?

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 8 years 5 weeks ago

That doesn't make sense. The Clintons both have long records of support for the right wing agenda. Voting for Clinton is voting for the same agenda that you criticize. And what we learned from Bill Clinton is that a right wing pol who wears a "D" button on his lapel can cause more damage than a Republican.

Bandy Legged Marsupial Cave Rabbi's picture
Bandy Legged Ma... 8 years 5 weeks ago

I strongly agree with 2950-10k.I would also add that I am very concerned that even more is at stake. The US democratic franchise has been so badly damaged with gerrymandering, voter suppression and election fraud that if any Republican gets in, Trump or otherwise, the ballot box will cease to be a viable tool for change. And although it's early yet, my gut feeling is that Trump is going to win. That's why I've been arguing so much with the BoB'ers - flawed though HRC may be, with her there's still some chance of electoral change. Otherwise, it's revolution the hard way and I frankly don't have the stomach for that.

I've already started the first of many conversations with my spouse about leaving the country. We're stuck here for a few years yet, but I think once our younger child graduates high school, Cape Breton, here we come!

DonaldKronos's picture
DonaldKronos 8 years 5 weeks ago

@ThomHartmann STOP TRYING TO TURN "independents" into "Democrats". I have volunteered many times for Democratic party candidate campaigns, BECAUSE I SUPPORTED THE CANDIDATE, but to insinuate that people like me would become members of a EITHER FACTION of the "DEMOCRATIC REPUBLICAN" oligarchy, is making you look bad. I've spoken to several people who have told me they've PERMANENTLY STOPPED LISTENING TO YOUR SHOW over that, and if you don't start correcting it, I may just join them on that decision. Want to drive people like me to the point of NEVER HELPING ANY CANDIDATE WHO CHOOSES TO RUN UNDER THE DEMOCRATIC OR REPUBLICAN PARTY? Because that's what you're doing. If the Democratic party wants me to vote for their 2016 presidential nominee, they can nominate Bernie Sanders. Otherwise, I WILL WRITE HIM IN AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU OR THEY CAN DO TO CHANGE THAT... SO STOP TRYING, BECASUE YOU'RE CHASING AWAY DOWN-TICKET VOTER SUPPORT FOR BERNIECRATS, WHO IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED ARE RARELY REPUBLICANS!

DonaldKronos's picture
DonaldKronos 8 years 5 weeks ago

In reply to The Glenn Beck ... --- I was offered a chance to "take the pledge" once, and turned it down, as I'm sure many other #BernieOrBust supporters have done and will continue to do, because we don't need a pledge to do what we WANT to do. However, you're right about the "will vote for a progressive, one way or another" statement, as I have observed that most #BernieOrBust people I talk to plan on writing in "Bernard Sanders" if he's not on the ballot, and voting for dow-ticket Berniecrats and other progressives, while a few have said that if #Bernie is not on the general election ballot, they plan to vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party who has expressed that she and her party wish to support Bernie's Political Revolution, Also, many people who have been Democrats most of their lives are saying that they will become independent if Bernie Sanders isn't on the general election ballot... so all these Democrats who are trying to turn us into members of their party in case their party doesn't nominate OUR CANDIDATE are simply HURTING THEIR PARTY by doing so!

DonaldKronos's picture
DonaldKronos 8 years 5 weeks ago

In reply to stenmawson --- Bernie has been very good for the Democratic party, and they in turn have ALLOWED HIM TO BE VERY GOOD FOR THEM, which is the ONLY THING they have done for him! Do your research! He is their ONLY REASONABLE CHANCE of not becoming irrelevant, since the Democratic FACTION has moved so close to the Republican FACTION of the "Democratic Republican Party" that people are finally starting to wake up and realize it's basically just one party that cheated so that it could run slander campaigns against itself and be guaranteed to win all the time based on fear and hate! Would you rather Bernie start his own party that can consistently beat both factions of your party? I would, even though I will not join a political party... so go ahead... dare him to!

DonaldKronos's picture
DonaldKronos 8 years 5 weeks ago

In reply to 2950-10K -- I'm hoping if Bernie doesn't with the presidency, after the Democratic party shafting him the way they've been doing, that he will return to Senate as an independent, and return to speaking against what's wrong with both factions of the Democratic Republican Party as he had done for so many years. His efforts are among the few things slowing their degredation, and in my opinion he needs to remain ABOVE them, in more important ways than merely being the "Majority Leader" would allow. We need to elect down-ticket Berniecrats, rather than Republicrats!

DonaldKronos's picture
DonaldKronos 8 years 5 weeks ago

In reply to Intermittent In... --- I and many other #BernieOrBust people WILL BE writing in "Bernard Sanders" if he is not on the general election ballot. I have a feeling Jill Stein will too! :)


DonaldKronos's picture
DonaldKronos 8 years 5 weeks ago

In reply to Intermittent In... -- Unfortunately, thanks for UNDEMOCRATIC restrictions on people running for their nomination, Bernie is not ALLOWED by the Democratic Party, to participate in debates they haven't sanctioned, and they are ALMOST CERTAIN not to sanction the kind of diverse DEMOCRATIC debate you're suggesting... sadly. Still, keep encouraging it... raise protests to makie it happen, if you can. You're not alone in wanting something like that. :)

DonaldKronos's picture
DonaldKronos 8 years 5 weeks ago

In reply to jvgeaga --- I'm curious why you say that you've always supported Bernie and now think he's an asshole. The guy is the most consistent politician I've ever known of, anwhere, from any time period, so what is it about him that you feel has changed and what made you feel that way? Is it the lies being spread about him as part of the money being spent to keep him from getting elected as President? That's the only thing I can figure.

There are over a thousand videos posted over the last 7 years on his SenatorSanders YouTube page, and I would CHALLENGE you or anyone else to find even one of them which contradicts HIS CURRENT MESSAGE as a presidential candidate.

DonaldKronos's picture
DonaldKronos 8 years 5 weeks ago

In reply to Ritva -- I would love to see Bernie run as a Green Party or Peace and Freedon Party candidate, or both... and there are many other parties which would also represent him better than the Democratic faction of the Democratic Republican Party has done or likely ever would do. I will vote for Bernie Sanders whether he is on the ballot or not, but I would ENCOURAGE those who are not wiling to write in "Bernard Sanders" if he's not on the ballot, to research the so-called 3rd parties and strongly supporting them as a protest against the one-party establishment! Those who normally write in protest votes like "Mickey Mouse" should of course strongly consider adding their PROTEST VOTE, if that's all they've got, to the genuine support that many of us have for Bernard Sanders, the work he has done for so many years, and the political revolution that he and many other good people have been supporting and encouraging... so I would encourage those people to join us in voting for #Bernie for president and for #Berniecrats in other positions, including a write-in vote of "Bernard Sanders" for president if he's not on the general election ballot.

DonaldKronos's picture
DonaldKronos 8 years 5 weeks ago

In reply to DHBranski -- Well said, and yes I agree that being a Democratic faction member doesn't stop a REPUBLICAN politician from BEING A REPUBLICAN... it just makes them a double agent for the Republican faction of the Democratic Republican Party. In the same sense, Hillary has accused Bernie of not being a Democrat and I certainly hope that he's reconsidering his choice to become one in order to save them from themselves, because NEITHER FACTION DESERVES HIM! He's BETTER than they are... and I would support Bernie no matter what parties he runs for the nomination of, but I still hope he decides to run as a hybrid, filing petitions to get on many state general election ballots before their deadlines and before the primaries are over!

DonaldKronos's picture
DonaldKronos 8 years 5 weeks ago

In reply to Bandy Legged Ma... --- The ballot box effectively ceased to be an viable tool for change when the Bemocratic-Republican Party was bought out by the owners of the Federalist party and divided into the Republican faction and Democratic faction pretendng to be two separate parties and slandering each other in pre-planned ways to scare people into voting for them to keep them out!

I'm supporting Bernie Sanders any way I can. If that must be as a nominee of a faction of the deceptive and devisive Democratic-Republican party, then so-be it, but I am supporting the candidate, not the party! I'll vote for down-party Berniecrats, also regardless of their party affiliation, to support Bernie Sanders and the political revolution, but I WILL NOT VOTE FOR ANYONE I HAVE CAUGHT SAYING THAT BERNIE SHOULD DROP OUT! PERIOD! We need people in the government who are above such antisocial antidemocracy.

WindyCity's picture
WindyCity 8 years 5 weeks ago

Spot on, Thom. Frankly, however, I don't believe for an instant that Clinton or the DNC will do anything substantial to win my support. She's a corporate Democrat, a neoliberal, neoconservative politician beholden to Wall Street, Big Pharma, and Oil & Gas industry, among other bastions of capitalist power. It hardly matters what the Democratic Party platform is. She'll no doubt abandon whatever progressive policy ideas get floated in Philadelphia and flip-flop back to her center-right corporatist politiics. I would be flabbergasted if she didn't end up supporting the TPP after making a soulful announcement that after careful consideration she's decided that the treaty is indeed in the interests of American workers, blah, blah, blah. I can't support her. I won't support her. I'll vote for the greater good, not the lesser evil. Jill Stein's my candidate.

DonaldKronos's picture
DonaldKronos 8 years 5 weeks ago

To: Thom Hartman -- Once I manage to get past the title... which I did only after replying to every comment in the list, I found what you had written to be spot-on... although I think it was a bit TOO KIND to the Democratic Party, but that's okay since they are more likely to listen that way. Well done. I'll share this on Twitter and FaceBook, encouraging other #BernieOrBust supporters to try to get past the title.

But the short answer to how the Democratic faction nominee can earn our vote, is "BE BERNIE SANDERS"... that's it. That's the answer. Yes, there are people who will consider "changing her tune" to be enough if Hillary gets the Democratic faction nomination and starts running on Bernie's platform, but it's hard to imagine her doing that because of the way she thinks, and even if she did.. it's just a tune and we know if she's elected she'll be singing the same Republican DOUBLE AGENT chant that's obviously running through her head all the time... and that's not something Bernie Sanders supporters can support, because we've been paying attention!

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 4 weeks ago

Hillary works for every vote, Bernie works hard for every voter - and even those who don't vote. Hillary will sell out every voter, take their vote and "So long suckers!"

If you think she won't appoint Supreme Court Justices who will uphold and defend Citizens United you're batty and Roe v. Wade won't be overturned regardless of who is president and appoints which judges.

Republican voters and Hillary voters are equally suckers.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 4 weeks ago

Bernie supporters were rightly outraged in Nevada. That's a nice strategy, blatantly cheat against your opponent then when your opponent's supporters get angry accuse them of thinking about violence.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 4 weeks ago

Appropos my above comment, Obama's new Supreme Court nominee supports Citizens United. How much more will Hillary's appointees?

Hillary is as sociopathic as any of them, she is bound by NO ethical consideration, whatsoever. She just may be a good bit smarter than any of the Republican clowns - but all the more trechearous for that.

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