Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton may still be duking it out on the campaign trail, but at least one major progressive blog and activism site is already preparing for the general election.
Markos “Kos” Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos, a popular liberal web site, wrote a blogpost on Friday asking the site’s community of writers, readers and commenters to begin moderating their criticism of Clinton starting on March 15, in the likely event that Clinton solidifies her hold on the nomination with additional primary wins.
If Sanders does not turn the tide, Moulitsas wrote, “then on March 15 this site officially transitions to General Election footing. That means, we will focus our attention not just on Donald Trump or his rivals, but also on the Senate, the House, and state-level races.”
“If you want the most liberal government possible, we aren’t going to get that this cycle in the White House, but we can keep building the bench down the ballot so that come 2024, we have lots of great liberals to choose from,” Moulitsas added.
Moulitsas went on to lay out specific guidelines for talking about Clinton if she becomes the nominee.
He distinguishes, for example, between “constructive criticism” of Clinton from a progressive perspective, and using “right-wing tropes” to attack her. He even prohibits liberal-themed name calling, like saying “she’s a sell-out corporatist whore oligarch.”
Writers and commenters who violate the rules will make themselves eligible to be banned from the site.
Moulitsas also notes that progressives should unify to accomplish much-needed process reforms like ending Iowa and New Hampshire’s outsize role in the primary season, abolishing the caucus system and ending the practice of having “super delegates,” who are not bound to support the candidate who wins a primary state.
He even argued that there is a progressive consensus for ousting Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (Fla.) as head of the Democratic National Committee.
Moulitsas’ essay announcing the new policy is notable because it marks a turning point in a Democratic primary season that has pitted progressives supporting Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders against one another. The tension between Sanders and Clinton supporters has sometimes devolved into petty name calling, with Clinton backers accusing Sanders supporters of engaging in sexism. It is an allegation that gave birth to the infamous “Bernie Bros” stereotype -- and prompted Sanders himself to condemn it.
Meanwhile, Sanders supporters have charged Clinton backers with using accusations of sexism to dismiss legitimate criticism of the former secretary of state.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, an online progressive activism group that has not endorsed a presidential candidate, sounded a similar note as Super Tuesday results came in showing big wins for Clinton, all but claiming Sanders’ bid had ended.
"Hillary Clinton was made a better candidate thanks to Bernie Sanders engaging her in a race to the top on popular economic populism issues like debt-free college, expanding Social Security, and jailing Wall Street bankers who break the law,” said Adam Green, PCCC’s co-founder, in a statement. “Had she run away from Elizabeth Warren-style ideas instead of working to ride an economic populist tide, many Super Tuesday results likely would have been different.”
"The primary continues -- but no matter who wins, the Democratic Party has begun to be fundamentally remolded in Elizabeth Warren’s image,” Green added in the statement. “Armed with popular economic populist themes, Democrats are better positioned to win in November."