Friday, July 01, 2016

I trust Bernie Sanders and his plan, even if I don't know the end game

The mood after the primaries this time seems eerie and awkward. Neither Hillary Clinton (the "presumptive nominee") nor Bernie Sanders have the pledged delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Yes, you Clinton supporters can harp on the superdelegates all you want, but they don't vote until July 25th. Until that happens, no one has won the nomination. The Associated Press must have an awfully nice plum waiting for them to anoint Hillary as the nominee a day before the California primary was held, but they were wrong. She's still not the nominee.

There is plenty of uncertainty to go around. Clinton supporters would like Bernie Sanders to sit down, shuddup and endorse her already. (Don't worry, he can't be stripped of superdelegate status until it's official.) But that isn't going to happen either for a simple reason. He has 12 million votes of leverage. Are you sure you want to see how 12 million voters express their anger about what happened to them during the primaries? What about the millions more that didn't get a chance to vote for him?

Clinton supporters are undeniably lost in their own anger and have a difficult time justifying their anger at Sanders. They have shown little if any empathy at all for Sanders supporters because they think she won fair and square. The DNC was hardly a neutral arbiter of the primaries, for a start, and articles abound about how unfair the process really was. Clinton supporters need only to look into the mirror to place their blame. Sanders has support because the Democratic Party is not listening to his supporters, not the other way around.

If there was no other viable candidate in this primary race, Clinton surely would have it sewn up by now. Is there any wonder in the Clinton camp about why she could not wrap it up despite the enormous assistance provided to her to win it? I don't think so. They're too busy frothing at the mouth in anger to understand how they helped to create the situation. No olive branches here. Not today.

Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton, Sanders decided that 2015 was the time to show America what a true progressive looks like. Clinton is not one of those progressives. True, she talk like a progressive in one way or another, but her actions don't seem to follow her words. Her ideology doesn't shine the way it does for Bernie Sanders. If a consensus can be drawn from all the words I've managed to find on her so far, it's that she's at best, a centrist. At worst, and far more likely, she's a neoliberal. That is to say, a liberal in name only.

Curiously, a fair number of Clinton supporters are unable to figure out the end-game Bernie Sanders has in mind. So let me get this straight. Sanders supporters are starting to win primaries in Congressional races and Clinton supporters and surrogates in the media can't figure out his end-game?

I am not sure of his end-game. I'm not even sure I want to know. But I'd say that after winning 14 elections, Sanders has a far better understanding of election politics than any Clinton supporters are able to deduce. Wouldn't the adversary love to know that end-game so that they can exploit it as a weakness? I'd say that they would if they could, despite their pleas for party unity. After watching what happened with the platform deliberations within the Democratic National Committee, party unity isn't a big part of the plan.

Add to that all of the condescension pouring upon Bernie from syndicated pundits everywhere, we see absolutely breathless determination to put him down. That condescension is very apparent in the hosts who have him on the air for "exit interviews", asking leading questions that would give him an opportunity to concede, say that he will vote for Hillary, endorse her, or anything else they can trump up as evidence that Bernie will give up. To his credit, Bernie responds stoically, factually and returns the discussion to the issues of the election. He is not so easily played.

Hillary may be able to get a few centrist Republicans to vote for her, but that's nothing compared to the gap that can be created when 12 million voters decide to vote for somebody else. If Hillary manages to squeak by without an indictment resulting from flaunting the Espionage Act or a variety of anti-corruption acts, she will still have to face the millions of voters who feel that the election was not just. If she does manage to win, the people lining the streets of her motorcade to the White House will look a lot more like they did in 2001 for George W. Bush, than a welcoming party.

I honestly don't know what Bernie has in mind and I really don't need to know. It's his campaign not mine. Yes there are petitions all over the place imploring him to run with the Green Party, run as an independent (his campaign has filed the paperwork for that possibility in all 50 states), or, from the Hillary camp, to just drop out. I'm still not going to tell him what to do.

Stopping Trump is not the end game, either. Ask any Sanders support what they think about Trump. Buffoon, pariah, egomaniac may come to the fore. But I think many of us see that Trump is not the most important element in this election. At best, he's a distraction. At worse, he's controlled opposition, a useful tool to instill fear into the electorate to vote for Hillary Clinton. As much as Sanders talks about how important it is to stop Trump, that is not the end game.

Some evidence of a possible end-game have appeared. Remember, Sanders has said that his campaign is not about him. It's about us getting involved in politics. He has said over and over that he cannot do it alone. He needs our help. 12,000 of us have signed up to run for office or volunteer at his website. Sanders supporters are starting to win primaries and they will go on to face off with Republicans in November.

The biggest star is Zephyr Teachout in New York. She just won a primary election for her district. Like Sanders, she takes no big money, only small contributions. She wrote a book on corruption, so she walks the talk. She has been endorsed by Bernie Sanders and if she wins in November, she will be in a position to help bring about the changes that this country needs.

Then there is Josh Brannon of North Carolina. He just won the primary for his district. From his website:
As your representative, I will fight…
…for the rights of people over corporations.
…for the ability of every American to be represented equally in politics. Money is not speech.
…for equality. Everyone deserves a first chance, almost everyone deserves a second.
…for education. It’s the best investment we can make in our future.
Misty Snow, a Sanders supporter and transgender person, won the nomination in Utah. She will run against Senator Mike Lee. Misty saw that there was and is a need for someone to run as a Democrat who is not running as a conservative candidate. She ran a campaign as a clear choice in contrast to her opponent. She also wants to get money out of politics.

From these three examples, we see candidates who offer a clear choice from their conservative opponents who call themselves Democrats. They offer progressive platforms and a clear understanding that we need to get money out of politics. Speaking of that, if you happen to have some unhappiness to share with Debbie Wasserman Schultz, check out Tim Canova. He's running against DWS in Florida, but they haven't had their primary vote yet for her seat. So far, it's not looking good for her.

Sanders has said he wants to start a peaceful revolution, to reclaim our democracy from the oligarchy America has become. Already we are starting to see changes in the discourse, the politics and the candidates who make it through the primaries.

I trust Bernie's plan, even if I don't know what it is. But if what we have seen so far is any indication, the end game is just beginning.
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