This would be an interesting thread to build on, as well.
In short - I think we Democrats continue to shoot ourselves in the foot because a certain faction of the party continuously allows the perfect to be the enemy of the good in election after election.
We do this by either not voting at all or by casting a protest vote for a candidate who stands zero chance of winning. Then we bitch and moan when Republicans win without ever taking responsibility for being part of the reason why Republicans are in power.
I have almost come to convince myself that some so called liberals would rather be out of power because then they can always complain about things without ever being held responsible if their policy ideas don't actually work. It's easy to be "for" something when you're not in power because you can't be held accountable if those ideas wind up making things worse.
In watching the news on the Montana election of Gianforte, few TV pundits said anything about the candidate Gianforte beat...Rob Quist. Democrats blame all the outside money and the late support from the DNC for the loss. The money was a part of it, but Quist never polled well from the get go. You could say his "baggage" was tiny in the eyes of the idealistic Democrats who hand picked him to run against Gianforte because he had no political experience or ties to Washington...just a very good and well liked folk singer. However, for Republicans that baggage was as big as Melania Trump's mountain of baggage for her overseas trip. The Rolling Stone interviewed Montanans before the election on what they thought of Quist:
"A Gianforte supporter who sports a gray mustache says he can't back "that Quist" because he's a "two-bit musician" and "a deadbeat," adding, "He doesn't pay his taxes. He's living off Social Security. How's he supposed to take care of the rest of us?"
The TV ads hit a similar theme:
"Over dark music, one ad intones that Quist is "out of tune" with Montana, and tries to hang the Democrats' minority House leader like a millstone around his neck. "Rob Quist talks folky, but his record is more Nancy Pelosi than Montana." Other ads dredge up Quist's past tax troubles. The NRA accuses Quist of backing a gun registry – fighting words in Montana."
Quist's candidacy became a referendum on Bernie's movement as the two embraced each other and Bernie campaigned for Quist across the state...and against the hated "establishment". A Quist win would show the nation that the Bernie movement was alive and well and ready to take on Washington establishment. It didn't happen and now the blame game is in full force.
Bernie supporters are exerting their influencing in state, local and federal elections across the country and I commend them for their new found passion. However, they are also turning off much of the middle, that segment of the voting population that calls themselves independent. And they are applying purity tests to the candidates they select with the number one criteria seemingly "no experience in government" plus never worked for a corporation or a bank or profited somehow in the capitalist world.
Montana's politics hasn't changed much since I grew up there. It always was a state that looked at the candidates through a different lens than the mainstream media. They have a Democratic Senator and a Democratic governor who beat Gianforte in the 2016 election. Rather than looking at the qualities of these fine people and how they got elected in a so called "red state" they went outside the box and picked a pure Bernie liberal with zero political experience. If the Dems had done their homework, they would have known that Vermont style socialism doesn't poll well in Montana as whole.
Montana Democrats had two other well qualified candidates that in my view would have made a better showing than Quist.
I only harp on this because the divide in the Democratic Party remains. The die-hard Bernie supporters really believe Bernie could have won and they hate Hillary for it. They haven't done their homework and they don't think critically either.
If the 2018 election becomes a referendum on the Bernie movement across the country, then at least in states like Montana it could spell another big defeat. Then blame the DNC headed by that "awful Obama establishment guy", Tom Perez.
Thanks for the reply! Yes, seems like there was major overlap in Bernie supporters and enthusiasm for Quist, and a very similar narrative to the one that followed Clinton's loss. I *am* interested in whether the series of Clinton's loss, Perez' win, and Quist's loss is making Bernie supporters even more strident and distanced from "moderate/establishment" Democrats.