Over at the New Republic Noam Scheiber wrote a long piece about “How Hillary Won Over the Skeptical Left,” but missing was the most important part of the explanation. The so-called “left” has embraced Hillary because there is no other viable option.
The lesson that Hillary Clinton seemed to learn from 2008 is that the best way to win a primary is as early as possible. She has done a great job of positioning herself. Most importantly, she has been extremely effective at locking up the big donors, campaign staff, and endorsements to deprive any potential rival of oxygen. By doing this early Clinton created a self-sustaining feedback loop.
Most of the “left” is first and foremost part of the Democratic party — or wants to work with the party. The more likely it believes Clinton will win, the more sense it makes for these political/policy professionals to align with her, and the more professionals that align with her the more inevitable she becomes.
In addition most of the “left” wants to see Democrats succeed over Republicans. Tearing down Clinton to advance a better viable Democratic alternative could make sense, but in the absence of one tearing down Clinton just for the sake of tearing her down is seen as very counterproductive.
People talk about the Elizabeth Warren wing of the party, but without a presidential candidate to coalesce around that is not a threat to Clinton for this reason. You can’t win an election without a candidate. At this point such a candidate is very unlikely to emerge. The few Democrats who have even shown an any interest in a running are people like Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo, and Martin O’Malley who don’t diverge much from Clinton on the big issues.
If you go to a cafeteria and everyone is eating hot dogs that doesn’t means people have fallen in love with hot dogs. It could mean that the cafeteria is only selling hot dogs and most people conclude a hot dog is clearly better than starving.
Clinton has done a great job of making sure she is the only thing on the menu.