Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
When I talk about conspiracy thinking, I'm mainly talking about what I have seen from the Sanders supports I worked with, and blog wars I have skimmed where individuals post comments and arguments with a very similar-seeming mindset.

That the Democratic party is strongly pro-Clinton is not up for debate. That Clinton and her inner circle are insider hacks of the most mediocre sort seems pretty clear, and like all insider hacks of her generation she seems pretty damn neo-liberal.  I'm not making any arguments in that direction.

But one cannot jump from these facts to constant accusations of election fraud and vote rigging, in every single state, on the flimsiest of evidence.  For a conspiracy like that to take place, one has to demonzie far, FAR too many relatively well-intentioned folk at the local and state level.  One has to imagine far too many eager and enthusiastic activists, with whom I share far more in common than I share with the Republicans, as mindless drones who have been brainwashed into unthinking complicity.  No.  I refuse to do that, and the belief that all this is true and is taking place beneath our noses is conspiracy thinking.  Too many people aren't aware of the full complexity of the issues and can't accept that other people might not agree with them, and they explain it away by positing a dire Clinton Cabal with amazing powers to control everything secretly behind the scenes.

Which is bull.  If they have this power now, they would have had this power in 2008 as well, when Clinton was just as presumptive a nominee going for just as unchallengable of a coronation.  Hell, I've read a number of raving posts talking about Diebold voting machines and rigged E-Votes, like it was 2004 again. How exactly Hillary got the keys to the Evil Diebold Vote-Rigging apparatus is a bit murky, as is why exactly that Vote-Rigging apparatus failed to swing things R in 2008 and 2012 despite the avowed intentions of Diebold to do so.

That is conspiracy talk, of the UFO and 9/11 truther variety. It's main crime is lazy thinking, the same sort of lazy thinking that leads people into all kinds of damaging wrongness. Too many people I have seen in the Bernie camp have fallen into this.  This mindset primes people to respond in outrage to rather ordinary politicking and crowd-management, and to interpret every action in the worst possible light when it does not deserve it.

I can't be all that surprised at what the Clinton folk did in Nevada, because as Frank states elsewhere this kind of room-stuffing is a pretty common trick, with pretty common responses.  It was tried, it failed.  Oh well, and neither side should really be all that worked up over it.  It's politics, these things happen.  Likewise, I would not be all that worked up over disruptive activities on the convention floor, whatever they actually were.  Again, it's politics.  Heck, even if there was a full-on riot (which there was certainly not), or some degree of disorderly conduct short of rioting (which there probably wasn't), or a violent seizure of power (I could only dream of the Sanders team being this competent), I don't really care all that much.

What bugs me about it is the incompetence of it all. Bernie supporters were primed to interpet every action and every vote in the worst possible way, and went into full-on outrage at the wrong time and in a kind of pathetic manner.  It is unfocused and ignorant protest, which accommplishes nothing and just makes you look bad. Worse, it all makes perfect sense if you buy into the conspiratorial mindset, and cannot bring yourself to give the other side some credit.

You don't build anything by encouraging your new supporters to demonize everone who doesn't agree, and you aren't training them to be effetive political actors if you prime them to respond with raw outrage over everything. Some of this was going to happen anyway, but openly embracing it is bonkers.

by Zwackus on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 08:43:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The 'report' of violence was based on a tweet from Nevada reporter Jon Ralston who left the convention before the climax and then received an exaggerated description of events that he tweeted as fact. He subsequently acknowledged this. One Sanders delegate is known to have lifted a chair over his head, but was immediately stopped from further action by the rest of Sanders' supporters. The whole thing is contrived BS. Media wrote their reports based on Ralston's tweed and, apparently, Harry Reid based his 'violence' comment on that same report. Subsequently they 'modified' their reports as claims came into question. But the tone of the whole coverage was set on misinformation.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 19th, 2016 at 11:46:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well what is the point of voting machines if not vote rigging? Certainly there seems to be a somewhat reasonable explanation for the weird exit poll results but I won't blame anyone for suspecting otherwise.
But Sanders didn't embrace this so that shouldn't be an issue here. What he did was, when faced with the routine bad faith calls to distance himself from his "violent" followers, to call their grievances legitimate. What else was he supposed to do? The point of those calls is to delegitimize and demobilize a political movement.
Another strange thing about this campaign is how telegraphed everything, especially from the Clinton campaign is.
by generic on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 03:49:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another strange thing about this campaign is how telegraphed everything, especially from the Clinton campaign is.
This for  example:

Hillary Clinton plan: Defeat Bernie Sanders, then unify party - CNNPolitics.com -

is taking new steps to try and disqualify Bernie Sanders in the eyes of Democratic voters, hoping to extinguish the argument that he is an electable alternative for the party's presidential nomination.


As Sanders took a victory lap following a 14-point triumph in Wisconsin, Clinton took fresh aim at the Vermont senator as part of a three-part strategy before the New York primary on April 19: Disqualify him, defeat him, and unify the party later.

by generic on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 04:08:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series