Bumped with UPDATE: Registration is now open for non-Rutgers personnel for this event. Getting a ticket (free) is a little more complicated than a single click. You’ll need to provide some additional info. I just went through the process in less than 10 minutes. Bear in mind, the location has been changed to a larger venue, the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC) in Piscataway (8,000 seats). If you’re going, here’s the link.
Pretty sure Hillary spox Philippe Reines would deny Bernie Sanders campaigning for her ever happened …
Elly Faden, a local Our Revolution volunteer leader in Hazlet, has called off an event she planned to protest a speech by Hillary Clinton March 29 on the Rutgers New Brunswick campus. This, after backlash from Clinton supporters, including at least at least one senior staff member of Clinton’s 2016 campaign. This, and the protest cancelation, made national news. Because, of course. Our Revolution is the group that grew out of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. He doesn’t run it, not that that matters to his detractors; former Ohio state senator Nina Turner does. [Nina Turner will also be coming to the Rutgers campus – Saturday afternoon, April 7th].
Typical of the coverage, NBC News seemed to take in the protest cancelation like it was just a self-indulgent pissing contest the local Bernie people lost and had to back down. There’s some truth; Jeff Weaver, Bernie Sanders’ close advisor, distanced Sanders from the protest against Clinton, for whom he campaigned in the fall of 2016. No doubt that the Hillary-Bernie fissure, that rift, still affects the party, but there’s something more serious than a pissing contest going on when you see this kind of disagreement spike. The direction of the Democratic Party is at stake here. And it’s hard to take seriously the Party’s promises to reform when Hillary’s still blaming the multitudes, reformers are still called disloyal, and the Party whistles past the common perception that it’s corrupt. There’s a lot of self-correcting the Party still has to do (Unity Commission, a good start), and you cannot change what you do not acknowledge. And there’s work to do to give alienated progressives reason to come back, and disillusioned millennials reason to join a party whose nominee and national chair scorned them. That’s work worth doing.
And here comes Hillary Clinton, symbol for some of everything wrong. No surprise a protest was planned. No surprise far more people here want to praise Hills than protest her; New Jersey’s not particularly progressive, it’s a machine state, and Hillary dominated both primary and general. This is Hillary country. And no surprise a fight broke out about it on social media.
Of course, this is Clinton, so the Bernie trash-talking has a professional campaign assist. Philippe Reines, Hillary’s 2016 campaign spokesman is a real class act:
Bernie & donald sitting in a tree, o b s e s s i n g.
Both pro-faking party affiliation.
Both pro-whining “Rigged!”
Both pro-forgetting they lost by 6,576,985 votes.
Both on a 3rd party ticket: Trump-Sanders 2016 & 2020 https://t.co/KOFhiFaVzr
— Philippe Reines (@PhilippeReines) March 19, 2018
That is the Hillary Clinton playbook; you criticize our candidate and we will burn your shit to the ground. Professionally.
I should make clear at this point that I am as Bernie as anyone, I was a New Jersey delegate for Sanders at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. And I knew Elly was planning this protest; I like and admire her. But my plan all along was to get a seat for Clinton’s speech. I voted for her against Trump; reluctantly, with considerable disgust, and knowing she would probably lose. I still believe she was a fatally flawed candidate, saddled as much with her own arrogance as with the FBI’s investigation into her actions as Secretary of State. I particularly don’t appreciate Hillary today, the 15th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War (and how that war built the modern Dem Party). But for all that, Clinton, whose New Jersey trips were nearly all high-dollar private house parties where she never had to see anybody who didn’t adore her, is still a great get for Rutgers, for its students, and for Eagleton. I’m sure her speech will drive my blood pressure up (oh yeah), but I do want to hear what she has to say. Because she did run our foreign policy (for a president I cared about), because she’s still very important to many people I value (and the Resistance is all of us), and because I want to support Eagleton’s great get.
To put it another way, if Elly’s protest was still on, I know I’d have friends outside, and friends inside. I’d especially love the ones outside. But I’d be inside, ears open, note pad out, phone live streaming, blood pressure meds taken. And so it goes.