"This one is going to come back to bite us," thinks Al (assets.nydailynews.com).
by Steve Timmer
Nov 14, 2016, 6:30 PM

Welcome to LeftMN

There are some new readers here because of my Commentary in the Star Tribune (Monday evening on the website and in the Tuesday paper edition; please read it before continuing here) in support of Keith Ellison’s run for the chair of the Democratic National Committee.

We’re glad you came over to check us out and hope you will be back from time to time.

LeftMN doesn’t aspire, in general, anyway, to be a commentator on national politics. As with everyone else though, we got drawn into the national campaign for president. With a consensus of the people who started this website, we endorsed Bernie Sanders.

I personally watched with dismay as at the DNC seemed to — and as we later found out, did — tilt the tables so much in Hillary Clinton’s favor. It was clearly picking favorites, and as I said in the Commentary, I thought it was perhaps picking the wrong favorite.

One of the most egregious examples of favoritism was the Hillary Victory Fund. The photo above was a photograph from the 2015 Democratic National Committee meeting in Minneapolis in the summer. I have to admit that I thought my cutline for the photograph at the time was prescient.

This meeting was where the HVF was born, and it was, to be frank, a money laundry scheme for the Clinton campaign. It was supposed to be, among other things, a way to help down-ballot candidates and state parties in organizing and GOTV activities.

The early money was all blown defeating Bernie Sanders. By May of 2016, several tranches of money were sent to the Minnesota DFL, and the money made a round trip back to Washington the very same day. I have made a number of inquiries, but I don’t know to this day if the HVF ever provided a dime of assistance to the DFL. We sure could have used it. I wrote about it a few times back in May:

Zero, zip, zilch, nada

Why it isn’t called the “Down Ballot Victory Fund”

Not just her thumb . . .

In spite of all of this, the DFL was in thrall of Mrs. Clinton, filing a lawsuit to keep Donald Trump off the November ballot. It landed with a predictable thud and made the Democrats look like they were the ones trying to suppress the vote.

Unsurprisingly, in the wake of the shocking national up-and-down-the-ballot loss, a lot of Clinton and DNC apologists are saying, “Bernie would not have done any better.” I think Bernie would have done better, and recent polling suggests he would have, too.

But that isn’t even the point. Here’s the point: Picking the identity politics candidate so early and insulating her and pushing her forward during the primary and caucus season was a giant political error that probably cost the Democrats the election. Not only the presidency, but everything else, too.

I’d also remind people who blame Bernie Sanders for splitting the party and causing the loss that Donald Trump had over a dozen opponents, and they were all sniping at him most of the way. It seemed to make him stronger.

On the road to the nomination, Donald Trump usually outperformed his polling, while Hillary Clinton under performed hers. That’s telling.

The Democrats, and the DFL locally, have a deep, dark hole to pull themselves out of.

And we won’t, unless we recognize that Cassius was right: the fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

I recommend this piece in The Guardian.

And this opinion piece also in The Guardian.

Finally, here’s a stroll down memory lane from our own site.

Update: In my view, it is of little or no consolation that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. That doesn’t explain all the other losses suffered by the Democrats, including the Minnesota Senate.

It is unlikely that a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Electoral College would go anywhere: not enough states would ratify it. Every state that benefits from over-representation will be against it. I think the talk of it now is just distraction from the real task ahead of the Democrats.

Update, Sunday 11/20: Here’s another great opinion piece in The Guardian about where the Democratic Party must go from here.


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