Howdy, y'all. This is a long chapter, and I'm liable to quit quoting from it towards the back half because it does become a list of results from states, more or less. I didn't really expect one chapter to cover the entirety of the campaign, given the prior chapters that would cover one singular event or speech. For comparison, it's about five times longer than the prior chapter, and about twice as long as the chapter before that. I considered breaking this down into two parts to make sure that we could get to the depth it warrants, because there's a lot to discuss between June 2015 and July 2016. Many of you may have first come here during that time. It was during the start of that era that I became a moderator of the subreddit. So, yeah, I'm not going to quote the text as much as I usually do, in part because this is where I either remember something Bernie mentions (most of the chapter) or I don't.
He opens by discussing the primary question he faced in those early months: "Do you really think you can win the nomination?" He assures the reader that he did. Now, in my lived experience, I'm skeptical of that. I don't know that the campaign truly believed that until late January. But, so it goes. As a side-bar, when he's discussing the strengths of the Clinton political organization and all the bits and bobs they had in place to help them, he mentions the Center for American Progress, which he calls "very good" (129). He doesn't elaborate, and if I were grading this, I would circle it and ask for some citations here.
He brings up as well a topic that you're probably familiar with (Lord knows I am): superdelegates. It may come as a surprise to you, but the Democratic establishment supported Secretary Clinton in the primaries. Before a single vote was cast, about 15% of the delegates needed to win were already pledged to her. Now, as I recall, a lot of people around here were pretty peeved about that. Still are, if the DNC reform fight is any indication. It's a fine line to walk in figuring out who is a public figure that can be readily contacted in regards to something like this and whose phone number will get your subreddit banned for doxxing and targeted harassment. Looking back, SFP moderators may have been too cautious. After all, look at some of the other political subreddits that are allowed to thrive on the platform.
Anyway, he discusses the power of small donors and how that terrified the extant political machines that ran solely on large checks. He also, and I'm going to quote this bit because I'm still running up against it personally, talks about how "rural people are not as conservative as the Democratic leadership has long believed, and their votes should not be conceded to right-wing Republicans" (134). As some of you may know, I grew up rural, although I'm a city slicker contributing to that brain drain now. By and large, these voters have been cast aside. They do not have a positive recollection of the Clinton years, where NAFTA's economic growth on a macro level correlated to the closing of nearly every manufacturing plant that provided jobs in the region, where welfare reform meant losing what support they had, and they certainly didn't have a positive outlook on the Obama years, where the economic recovery from 2008 missed them completely. These voters have been cast into the wind by Democratic strategists for years, in part because of gerrymandering and in part because of a vicious cycle where the city Democrats keep winning which makes them want to focus on the cities alone. Some of the strongest and proudest activists and candidates I know are rural, and they can't get any support because the DCCC, the DNC, the state party, all of them have written off the area. Even now, with a potentially competitive senate race, with an incumbent candidate who resonates well in rural areas, the strategy is cities, cities, cities. Cheeses me off to no end.
Over the course of the campaign, political weaknesses of Secretary Clinton came to light, the most heavily discussed here being the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I'm not rehashing a trade debate. We were all there, even if we weren't here.
Bernie brings up that, as the campaign rolled on, he was winning the Latino vote. I'm going to ignore everyone he mentions and credit that exclusively to /u/icaito (okay, and Erika Andiola).
He mentions that, while they did well with local news, they were getting almost no national attention, claiming to have received only ten minutes on the three major networks between January through November 2015. This is, of course, going to have a large impact on who knows about you.
He also mentions that, in his words, "our efforts in the African-American community were not going well" (140). The headwinds were simply too strong for the foundations already built, but next time…
He brings up how, in August 2015, the DNC announced they would only be hosting six debates, and as I recall, the first one was after the registration deadline for the New York primary. Now, Bernie says August 6th was the announcement, but I don't think that's right. This tweet from Martin O'Malley seems to indicate that folks were making a to-do about it as early as August 5th. Also, if anyone can remember for me who it was that led the #WeWantDebate charge, please let me know because it is escaping me at the moment.
To be frank, there's nothing really revelatory over the next thirty pages. Speaking across the country, getting attacked on guns…birds-eye overviews of results from Iowa and New Hampshire. Nothing like where he goes 'and then it turns out they were using double-headed coins at the caucuses!' or 'and then I rushed the stage to throw my chair' or anything. Nevada, disheartening loss; South Carolina, decimating loss. My state isn't even mentioned by name but just 'oh yeah on this day we lost some.' I'll try harder next time, I guess.
One thing I'd forgotten that I was thankful someone had catalogued was that the Associated Press called the nomination for Hillary the day before the California primary. Now, putting all the eggs in the CA basket was already a known gamble, but come on, folks. Just wait for it.
On July 12th, he endorses Hillary and ends the campaign, wanting to leverage his delegates into platform work. This subreddit loses a large chunk of members, if you look at the redditmetrics for that day. So it goes.
Something completely glossed over: the brief but important voter file lockout in late December. Oh well.
Boy, you are a long one. I'm not going to ramble any further. Part Two of the book is called "An Agenda for a New America: How We Transform Our Country," so I'm excited to dig into that. As always, talk about whatever in the comments. There's a lot of stuff to remember and reflect on.