I see the Sanders campaign creating discourse including a variety of voices, having open town halls, adapting to BLM, and engaging a varied mass audience (yes to 1) but failing to structure itself to avoid creating hostility with potential allies (no to 2). By contrast, Clinton's campaign pushes a practical and well-tested manuever of an experienced federal politician pushing moderation as a means to incremental change, using strong old-media messaging to unify democrats against the shambling hungry corpse of what was once the Republican party (yes to 2) but in sticking to message, blows at adapting to criticism (no to 1).
I see the Clinton campaign pulling the manuever favoured by the centre-left and well-off middle aged feminists of demanding unity without putting in the work to create it (and by "work" I mean, changing a few sentences in policy and public speeches), then patronizing or or dismissing critics. (confer: the CFS) I see news articles pushing Clinton as The Only Choice, prominent old-school feminists patting me on the head for not being mature enough to support a woman in the White House (who, if they like policy, were oddly silent on the Greens since their 1996 inception, and if they liked electability over policy, curiously failed to support McCain/Palin) and a clear media push to say that Sanders' campaign can't engage voters of colour despite poll numbers that refute this. I see that even this article conveniently omits that the protestors in the photo were mostly organized by a Latino rights group with some pretty legit grievances.
Then the Sanders "campaign" reacts by turning up the rage and. I use scare quotes as it's more pushing/enabling/harnessing an anarchic social media structure, thus creating a hurricane of vitriol, and ignoring any responsibility for what it's created - which is kind of crap leadership. Nevermind that the rage past a certain point not only just makes people bunker down, it also makes it increasingly difficult to have peace talks later, as outlined two paragraphs down.
This is what happens all the damn time on the left. And it can be fixed. In this case, prior to proper negotiations this could be amended if:
- Clinton stopped ignoring criticism, tweaked her policy, and provided something concrete to indicate that this wasn't lip service (like naming some prospective cabinet ministers or a VP with a better track record - what's Elizabeth Warren up to these days?). While I love Bernie and really don't like Clinton, if she took the necessary five minutes to do this after she almost certainly cinches the nomination, I would take my US passport and go deliver some campaign signs for her. Hell, I'd campaign for any centre-left candidate who was willing to grow a pair of gonads and use the unity they demand to push some innovative policy.
- Sanders used some autocratic power (which, whether he likes it or not, is the province of the head of the Executive Branch) to ask people to either engage in civil discourse or GTFO. As Trump has shown, the culture they create is something that populist candidates are going to be increasingly responsible for going forward. Sanders needs to grasp this and act accordingly.
Like with any other climate of growing hostility, the ideal solution is for candidates to sit down and figure out how to make peace and combine their strengths. Hopefully, this could start in one month, after the last primary.