The New York Times reports: Even as his chances of winning the Democratic presidential nomination slip away, Senator Bernie Sanders and his allies are trying to use his popularity to expand his political influence, setting up an ideological struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party in the post-Obama era.
Aides to Mr. Sanders have been pressing party officials for a significant role in drafting the platform for the Democratic convention in July, aiming to lock in strong planks on issues like a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage, breaking up Wall Street banks and banning natural gas “fracking.”
Amid his unexpectedly strong showing in the Democratic primaries, Mr. Sanders has tapped his two-million-person donor list to raise money for liberal congressional candidates in New York, Nevada and Washington State. And in the waning months of Barack Obama’s presidency, Mr. Sanders’s allies are testing their muscle against the White House, mounting a public attack on the president’s housing secretary, Julián Castro, over his department’s sales of delinquent mortgages to banks and private equity firms.
“There is a greater goal here,” said Representative Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona, a co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who sent a letter to Mr. Castro criticizing the mortgage sales. “The contribution of Bernie that will be lasting for us is that we will coalesce around an agenda.” [Continue reading…]
Robert Reich writes: Will Bernie Sanders’s supporters rally behind Hillary Clinton if she gets the nomination? Likewise, if Donald Trump is denied the Republican nomination, will his supporters back whoever gets the Republican nod?
If 2008 is any guide, the answer is unambiguously yes to both. About 90 percent of people who backed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries that year ended up supporting Barack Obama in the general election. About the same percent of Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney backers came around to supporting John McCain.
But 2008 may not be a good guide to the 2016 election, whose most conspicuous feature is furious antipathy to the political establishment.
Outsiders and mavericks are often attractive to an American electorate chronically suspicious of political insiders, but the anti-establishment sentiments unleashed this election year of a different magnitude. The Trump and Sanders candidacies are both dramatic repudiations of politics as usual. [Continue reading…]