Why I Am Optimistic
I want to set aside for the moment the question of whether Bernie Sanders or anybody else with national name recognition kick starts a serious Third Party campaign. Instead I want to talk about public opinion.
Two and a half years ago, when Bernie Sanders started his bid for the Democratic nomination, the American left was invisible in national politics. I defy anyone to claim that as of April 2015 you really believed that Bernie Sanders would become the President of the United States. Bernie had no more name recognition than Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader or even Dennis Kucinich — none of whom ever came close to taking office. And, to the amusement of the entire punditocracy, Bernie “bore the burden” of being a socialist which was universally deemed to be a laughably hopeless label to live down.
Can you take a breath and contemplate how much the political universe has changed since then?
Bernie is now the most popular politician in the country. The word, socialist, is no longer even a slight impediment to his appeal. Polling shows that his agenda of FDR style governmental intervention is now favored by the majority. Sanders is about to launch his national campaign in support of Medicare for All, which will put every Democratic politician in the country on the Yes-No spot, and you can bet that most of them will side with their donors against their constituents.
This will keep Our Revolution in the news and on the offensive into the mid terms next year.
At this point, we have to consider the crookedness of the system and the gimmicks employed by the Democratic National Committee to get the candidate that the donors want. That is a given. The only way to overcome that is with massive numbers that overwhelm the gimmicks. Coming from nowhere as Bernie did, he was unable to turn out the blowout majorities necessary to win.
He came so much closer than anybody in power could imagine. I think it is useful to review how it might have worked. Step One was always to win Iowa and New Hampshire, blowing up the idea that Bernie Can’t win. From there, he faced the Fire Wall of the South — where the African American vote is the decisive demographic. All he needed was to get a 50-50 split in the black vote and Hillary would be toast.
Neither happened in 2016. Hillary “won” Iowa, which was a major blow to the Sanders strategy. It left the presumption that Hillary was inevitable intact. And, for now, I will leave alone how the Clinton’s “earned” the loyalty of African Americans in the south — but just note that as of Hillary’s triumphal march through the south, Bernie was still very much an unknown quantity to most Americans.
The Iowa victory by Hillary Clinton was, according to the Editorial Page of the Des Moines Register a debacle:
Once again the world is laughing at Iowa. Late-night comedians and social media mavens are having a field day with jokes about missing caucusgoers and coin flips.
That’s fine. We can take ribbing over our quirky process. But what we can’t stomach is even the whiff of impropriety or error.
What happened Monday night at the Democratic caucuses was a debacle, period. Democracy, particularly at the local party level, can be slow, messy and obscure. But the refusal to undergo scrutiny or allow for an appeal reeks of autocracy.
For reasons that I still support, Bernie did not want to introduce himself to America as the guy who tried to sue his way into the White House, and so the debacle — and about 15 more just like it — went down with minimal blowback. And that is precisely why he lost — inability to win the AA vote and cheating.
In 2020, if Bernie runs as a Democrat, he will start as the front runner and virtually the entire country already knows him. Polling shows that African Americans have gotten to know him and he is very popular. Of course the same underhanded shit will be coming again — and probably a lot worse. But Bernie now has the popularity and the organized infrastructure to overwhelm anything short of just shutting down Democracy altogether.
I don’t rule that out, either. But if the hammer does come down, I can’t think of a better catalyst for revolution than cancelling an election to keep the people from getting the President they want.
To return to the idea of a Third Party — I support it. My optimism is not based on any set of tactics. Instead, it is based on seeing how far Bernie Sanders has gone to crystalize public opinion against the corporate whoredom that rules us. The “trend” is not just playing itself out — it is getting stronger. Trump and the GOP are destroying their brand while the Democrats are at their lowest ebb since the Roaring Twenties.
Yes, there are powerful forces with tons of money and lots of armed pigs that oppose us. Thus it has always been. Bernie has shown that we don’t have to be powerless.
We can take power. And we will.
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