There Are Differences Author: RaineDate:07/20/2015 13:45:51
I am pretty sure we all know what happened this weekend at NetRoots Nation this weekend.
It wasn't pretty. I am not here to discuss the tactics used by #blackLivesMatter nor am I going to moralize that.
I am here to talk about the differences in three of our candidates vying for the nomination and the aftermath of this weekend. It started in Iowa, and here is Politico's takeaway from it.
1. Hillary’s sensitive to the critique that she’s a candidate of the past
2. A healthy number of Iowa Democrats are on the same page as Bernie Sanders. But not the majority.
3. Clinton sees no benefit in acknowledging her Democratic rivals
4. Bernie now recognizes the Democratic Party’s diversity
5. O’Malley has the potential to catch fire in Iowa
It was largely uncontroversial and it was really great to be able to see all of the candidates speak. You can watch it on C-Span here. As you know, I am seriously leaning towards Martin O'Malley as my first choice, so know, I am biased, without apology. When Mr. O'Malley took the stage in Iowa, he came from the audience, and when he left the stage he went back into the audience. There are photos on Twitter that he went back behind the seating area and continued to talk and mingle with potential supporters. Ms. Clinton did not. Mr. Sanders took a seat back at his table. Little things like that make a difference to me.
After that, SoS Clinton headed to a Democratic Fundraiser in Arkansas; O'Malley and Sanders went to to NetRoots in Phoenix. This is where those little thing that make a difference to me really stand out.
Protests ensued. What I found most telling was how each candidate treats (for lack of a better word) their supporters and potential supporters.
This was Martin O'Malley a few hours after he fumbled onstage:
While Clinton draws headlines about her “strained relations” with the press, O’Malley’s staff rarely turns a reporter away. (On Friday night, his super PAC invited members of the media to an afterparty with the sign-carrying field organizers. “It’s open-press and we promise no rope-lines,” an official said in an email, adding a smiling emoticon. The Clinton cheer-squad, meanwhile, said they weren't allowed to talk to reporters.)
But there was no greater show of the O’Malley method than inside the Phoenix Convention Center on Saturday morning — when activists aligned with Black Lives Matter, a social justice group, upended a presidential forum at Netroots Nation.
O’Malley and Sanders spoke separately. The protesters asked each candidate to address questions about violence against blacks involving law enforcement. Both “responded poorly” at the time, as the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Cullors, put it later.
But after the forum — a jarring event that drew attention in and far outside the Netroots gathering — Sanders canceled his afternoon line-up of small meetings, including one with Black Lives Matters backers, according to participants. O’Malley, as his aides were quick to note, added events and sought to apologize for his reaction to the protest.
It goes on:
“That was a mistake on my part,” O’Malley said. “I did not mean to be insensitive in any way or communicate that I did not understand the tremendous passion, commitment, and feeling and depth of feeling that all of us should be attaching to this issue.”
Around the same time, Sanders was scheduled to meet with a small group of activists supporting Black Lives Matters. The senator has been focused with great intensity on the message driving his campaign — income inequality — and the idea behind the meeting was to “get Sanders on track with the conversation about issues around racial justice,” according to Elon James White, who is the founder of This Week in Blackness and was invited to attend the gathering. “His campaign was completely oblivious to the Black Lives Matter campaign and what’s been happening around the movement.”
When White arrived for the meeting, Sanders wasn't there. It was just a few staffers. White was told, he said later, that Sanders had cancelled all meetings for the afternoon. (snip)
Later, Sanders angered members of the Arizona Democratic Party, when he canceled 40 minutes after his scheduled speaking slot, according to Alexis Tameron, the chair of the party. The reason given to Tameron: “logistical issues,” she said. “That was it.”
A Sanders spokesperson did not respond to a question about his schedule.
I am very glad That O'Malley immediately realized that he made a mistake in saying what he said. I am very disappointed that Mr. Sanders cancelled all post speech events and took nearly twenty four hours to say anything. Ms. Clinton avoided this altogether by not being there at all, but I have a serious feeling that #BlackLivesMatter will be there to confront her as well.
How candidates react to a mistake during a campaign matters as much as what they are saying to the people they want to have votes from.