Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A mere endorsement is not concession

Yesterday at work, I got the news. Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. Ugh. I was angry, but not very much. The voice of reason was already in my ear, telling me there is more to this. Bernie is much smarter, older and wiser than most of us when it comes to politics. He understands political intrigue like no other. He knows more than he lets on.

Still, I drove home from work playing "Are You Experienced", by Jimi Hendrix. I reeled in a "Purple Haze". I could hear the chaos in my mind from the surreal experience of watching Sanders so completely and utterly endorse Hillary Clinton. I listened to "Manic Depression" and sang along with Jimi. I reveled in the "Fire". I cried a little inside as "The Wind Cries Mary". But somehow, I knew that there was more to Sanders endorsement than just acknowledging that she had bested him.

Sanders has been in politics for decades. He's seen 14 elections come and go and won. This moment in politics is a Zen moment. So it finally happened. Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton. Everyone thought he'd get cooties. After more than 12 hours of reflection, I'm not so worried about this anymore. I'm #stillsanders. I'm still thinking he has a chance to get to the top. If Clinton should somehow fail to get the nomination, Sanders has made his play to ensure there is unity in the party.

There are numerous reasons for superdelegates to change their minds. Sure, they may think they have the power to get their lusty coronation, but the movement behind Sanders is far, far beyond his control. I've seen the Sanders groups and supporters. Most of them are #neverhillary. Many of them are already professing their desire to vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party. Some have openly stated they will vote for Trump. No, I won't vote for Trump.

I thought that giving this speech would be dogfood for Sanders. But it was not. It was a speech like any other speech he gave. It was a stump speech if I ever saw one. But it was not for Clinton and it was not for Sanders. It was for the revolution. Sanders can see that he has nothing to lose by making this endorsement. An endorsement is not a concession. Franklin Roosevelt proved that in the last century. He endorsed his rival and still won the convention. Sanders must know this history. He still has his delegates. He is still a superdelegate.

Sanders is also very likely to be aware of all the litigation in this campaign. There is a litany of lawsuits across the country seeking to challenge the primary election results. There are investigations ongoing in several states for election fraud. With all the doubt and suspicion about the results, the convention is just a small part of what Hillary must overcome if she is nominated and elected. And let us not forget that Congress is asking the FBI to investigate whether or not Hillary Clinton perjured herself in the Benghazi hearings. I know, Republican talking point. But if she can't deal with that now, she's not going to be able to deal with it when Trump brings it up in every debate. On national TV.

I looked at the body language of the speech and I thought for sure I saw Sanders face turn bright red at a few points in the beginning, but he settled into it. Hillary was a bobblehead. She clapped on cue. Her smile seemed more like something she learned in training than a genuine smile. When it did appear to be genuine, I had the impression that she was childlike at the wonder of seeing Sanders work his magic in her favor. But I do not think that Sanders did this willingly. I think he did this because he understands that something greater than him, Hillary or Trump is at work here. America may be waking up after all.

Given the antipathy that a majority of Sanders supporters have for Clinton, I suspect that she will be a lame duck president before she even sets foot in the White House. The motorcade to the White House will not be greeted with a welcome, it will be very much like the scene in 2001 for George Bush. I believe that if Hillary is nominated, the GOP majority in Congress will remain, perhaps even more so if Sanders supporters decide to sit this on out. Sanders brought millions into the Democratic Party. I've seen the #demexit plans for July 29th. If Clinton prevails, that giant sucking sound will be the sound of people jumping ship.

I can't say that I know exactly what will become of this. I know that things are moving fast and that it's not really up to them. It's up to all of us to shape our history as it unfolds. I am content to trust that Sanders does indeed know what he is doing. It is up to us to support him and to prosecute the revolution.

"For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business." -- TS Eliot

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