June 10, 2016 at 11:36 am EDT | by David J. Hoffman
Hillary, the presumptuous nominee
presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks at a rally near RFK Stadium on June 9, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The old maxim about opera is often repeated. With a sly smirk we say that it’s not over “until the fat lady sings.”

The race for the Democratic presidential nomination — between Sen. Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton — is not over either.

And the proverbial fat lady won’t sing, indeed can’t sing, until the Democratic Party delegates including the “super delegates,” arrive in Philadelphia for the convention at the Wells Fargo Center July 25-28.

It’s a long way from here to there. The race to win pledged delegates is not over — not by a long shot. In fact, we who are registered to vote in Washington, D.C., should have our voices heard and our voices counted — for Sanders or Clinton — next Tuesday June 14, with both candidates still very much in the running.

Anything less than that, such as heeding louder and louder calls in a headlong rush to judgment, from many centrists and so called “moderates” hugging tight to conventional wisdom is shutting off debate, and silencing voters, which is just unacceptable.

It’s not a coronation. We are a democracy, not a monarchy. We have no royal family. And a contested convention is good for everyone, even for Secretary Clinton, because choking off debate will also choke off enthusiasm, and enthusiasm is a force that she notably has lacked thus far.

And when the Associated Press and NBC News and people like House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi say that “it’s over,” they are committing an unforced error, wrongly making her prematurely not the presumptive nominee, but rather the presumptuous one. It is simply (yawn) the mainstream media — including unfortunately also the Blade — falling into line (or anxiously jostling for favorable position) for the Establishment candidate. But this is not the time for hugging the middle of the road, which in the old Texas joke that part of the road is occupied only by dead armadillos and a yellow stripe.

Instead, this is a time in which the majority of voters want an outsider, not an insider. A new voice, not an old one.

In the race for the nomination to run as the strongest Democrat against the narcissistic demagogue Donald Trump, the polls and surveys are clear — it’s Sanders over Clinton by a country mile.

But last week in the Blade, an undertone of anti-Sanders reporting crept in and exception must be taken.

First, contrary to the Clinton triumphalism of the Blade reporting, it was not April, but May that was the cruelest month, for the Good Ship HRC. Quite simply, a majority of Americans don’t trust her.

But now to the specifics. The crucial problem with the article (carried on the front page of the Blade and written by Chris Johnson, normally scrupulously fair in his reporting) is that it is loaded with innuendo and sly hints that Sanders is somehow homophobic for opposing Barney Frank’s inclusion on the convention Rules Committee, which is pure poppycock.

Ostensibly a news story, it is really an opinion piece, though not labeled as such. It is replete with hypotheticals and shadowy “maybes” with tell-tale phrases like “could” and “it remains to be seen” (that one twice in fact) and “in effect,” all obvious means to insert opinions into a news story. Although he does quote supporters of Sanders, overall it is heavily slanted toward Clinton. As such, it is simply mildly under-reported and wildly over-written.

Meanwhile, regular Blade commentator Peter Rosenstein has in the same issue a typically snarky attack on Sanders, calling him “whining” and “a crybaby” and (again) “a whiney old man.” Leaving aside the age-ism, his piece is at least openly labeled “opinion,” more than can be said for the Johnson news story.

In conclusion, Bernie should stay in the race all the way to the convention and Barney should be kicked off the Rules Committee for his clear ad hominem animus against Sanders, even labeling him “McCarthyite.”

Barney, you’re better than that!

But if forced to choose, for me it’s clearly Bernie, not Barney. The Sanders role at the convention is to push for stronger progressive planks in the platform. For that reason alone, vote for him on June 14 when the D.C. primary is held, the last stop on the long and winding journey of voters toward picking the strongest candidate to face Trump in November.

David Hoffman is a D.C.-based freelance writer.

2 Comments
  • Of course people should vote for whomever they want. But the notion that Barney Frank should be kicked off the rules committee is preposterous. No one alive has been a more loyal servant of the Democratic Party for his entire career than Barney. By contrast, we have Cornel West, a Sanders rep on the platform committee, who at Bernie’s D.C. rally the other day called Hillary a “milquetoast neoliberal sister.” That is relatively kind coming from West, who loves to insult President Obama. Given how the Sanders team has dished it out, including charges of corruption, they can put up with Mr. Frank. Isn’t unity grand?!

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