There have been rumors for months of a power struggle on Team Sanders between strategist Tad Devine and campaign manager Jeff Weaver. One noticeable change has been the tone of the campaign from positive and substantive to bitter, paranoid, and downright nasty. The candidate himself has gone from eschewing personal attacks to sounding like a Dudebro Twitter troll. I wasn’t sure who was setting the tone within Team Sanders until an angry, hulking white dude did an interview Tuesday on MSNBC after the hammer came down on the Noo Yawk primary. And that is why Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver is malaka of the week.
Weaver is a longtime Sanders associate who owns a comic book shop in Northern Virginia. He seems to identify with Superman who is, in my estimate, the dullest superhero in toon-biz. When I saw Weaver on MSNBC with Steve Kornacki, he looked more like Bruce Banner morphing into the Hulk. I halfway expected him to do a Malaka Smash.
Weaver’s message on MSNBC was that the scorched earth tactics of the past few months will continue to the convention even if Clinton has reached the magic number of 2,383. According to Weaver, the plan is to try to flip super delegates. You know, the same people who Dudebro Nation have been calling corrupt hacks in strident, absolutist tones. The previous position of Team Sanders was that the whole concept of super delegates is undemocratic unlike, say, the caucuses they keep winning. #sarcasm. I’m down with Josh Marshall’s take on this:
As I’ve mentioned a few times, the Super Delegate system, at least in its current form, is unjustifiable. It’s a time bomb sitting at the heart of the nomination process. The only saving grace is that it’s just never going to be lit. History shows that the Supers always go with the pledged winner. And if they threw the race to the non-winner, it just wouldn’t get past go. Unless there was some pretty good argument that the race for pledged delegates was in effect a tie, it would blow up the party.
This is especially the case for the Sanders campaign since democratic process, transparency and not letting the establishment choose the candidate has been at the heart of his campaign. Turning around now and asking the dreaded Super Delegates to hand Sanders the nomination is a pretty hard argument to make.
I’ve been careful to focus on Weaver because a lot of this does seem to be coming from Weaver specifically, rather than Sanders or other top members of the campaign team. It was Weaver, of course, who warned Clinton: “Don’t destroy the Democratic Party to satisfy the secretary’s ambitions to become president of the United States.”
Team Sanders has spent most of the campaign telling us that they’re pure and principled, which inevitably results in being held to a higher standard than mere mortals. That’s why this whole “we’ll flip super delegates even if we’ve lost” stance is annoyingly hypocritical. I personally do not care whether or not Senator Sanders leaves the race in the near future. I do think, however, that if he wants to start a genuine political movement, he should drop the personal attacks, return to talking about substance, not process, and muzzle Malaka Weaver. Do they want to take the blame for President Trump?
Back to the Bernie World power struggle. I saw Tad Devine on the Rachel Maddow Show the night after the big blow-out. Devine was more subdued, admitting that absent a major turn-around Team Sanders would have to reassess its position after the last primaries. You know, the adult position. He made no mention of Weaver’s dead-ender strategy. In fact, when Rachel mentioned Weaver’s name, Devine scowled and rolled his chair backwards. Unlike Bob Woodward, I don’t usually put much stock in body language but Taddy Boy looked visibly disgusted.
If the Sanders campaign wants to morph into a movement, not a cult of personality, they need to go back to the issues that made their candidate catch fire last year. Instead, Malaka Weaver is trash talking the opposition and discussing meaningless polls showing his candidate ahead in the general election. The GOP is salivating over the prospect of red-baiting Sanders within an inch of his life. And Team Sanders doesn’t handle even mild criticism well at all, it brings out their patronizing and condescending side. Just wait until the likes of Roger Stone start ratfucking them.
I hate when primary campaigns spin out of control. Ain’t nothing uglier than a family fight, they know how to punch your buttons. I supported Obama in 2008 but never made personally disparaging remarks about Hillary Clinton or her supporters. In that instance, it was because I liked both candidates but thought Obama had a better chance of uniting the country during difficult times. As President, he tried but it takes two to mambo and the GOP wouldn’t play. So it goes.
I liked the Bernie Sanders of the fall of 2015. I thought he was a work-horse, not a show-horse. The Sanders of the last few months has been a show-horse in work-horse drag. He seems to believe his own rhetoric and spin. That’s a dangerous thing for *any* politician to do, particularly one who one who wants to build a movement. Protest candidates have their place in our system but they rarely build movements, that takes patience. It’s easier to yell and scream than to organize. Donald Trump, come on down.
It’s increasingly obvious that Jeff Weaver is the original Bernie Bro. They’re a particularly pernicious type of angry white male. Under the influence of the hilarious Al Giordano, I’ve taken to using the term Dudebro since it’s unclear if the candidate himself is down with all the paranoid excesses of his supporters. I hope not. It’s time to move on to the serious business of ensuring that Donald Trump will NOT be the first Insult Comedian elected President. In the end, Jeff Weaver is the bull goose loony of Dudebro Nation and that is why he is malaka of the week.