Eight years ago, the contrasts highlighted by the Obama-Clinton soap opera were ultimately less than advertised. Obama brought Clinton into his administration, setting her on course to successfully seek the nomination shortly thereafter. Despite outsized media attention on a handful of so-called “PUMAs,” Obama consolidated Democratic voters by more than enough to convincingly win the general election. By contrast, the 2016 conflict was at its heart ideological: the main source of tension wasn’t a personality clash or sore feelings among staffers, but a core difference in vision about the very nature of the political system.
This may help explain why despite feverishly promoting superficial notions of “unity,” the Clinton operation has done minimal outreach to the organizers who actually helped facilitate Sanders’ breakthrough electoral performance. One former senior Sanders staffer who requested anonymity recounted applying to the Clinton campaign for a position at the urging of Democratic operatives, only to be unceremoniously rebuffed at both the state and national level. “I chatted with some people at the convention, but it was one of those things where you sense that it was not going to go anywhere,” the person said.