Saturday, April 23, 2016

What Will Hillary Do To Earn The Votes Of Bernie's Revolution?


A couple of days ago, Mark Halperin, one of TV-PoliticalWorld's hackiest hacks, asked Bernie's campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, if Bernie would remain "a Democrat." What's a Democrat? A party registration? A package of values and principles? But, yeah, said Weaver, Bernie will remain a Democrat whether he wins or loses the primary. But what Halperin and the rest of the ones like him all want to know is if Bernie will "deliver" "his" voters to Hillary if she gets the nomination. LOL.

I suppose there are some Bernie supporters-- maybe many-- who will have no problem either embracing Hillary with some degree or other of enthusiasm or, at least, seeing her as very much the lesser-of-two-evils. Others are serious about the revolution, which is not a revolution against Trump or Cruz or Ryan or the Republican Party; it's a revolution against a system that is as represented by the career of Hillary and Bill Clinton as anyone in American politics. Those votes are NOT deliverable.

I've been enjoying D.D. Guttenplan's essays at The Nation lately. Wednesday he was urging Bernie to stay in the primary (as though the Clinton campaign's-- and it's captive media operations-- caterwauling made it a real question whether he would or not. Guttenplan wisely recognizes that Bernie's campaign is inspiring "a movement and upend the 'pragmatic incrementalism' that marks the limits of conventional politics. It also makes no sense to walk away in the middle of a debate that Sanders is winning on every issue, from a $15 minimum wage to the disastrous legacy of pro-corporate trade deals, to the need for massive reinvestment in our inner cities, to the rejection of a foreign policy founded on regime change. Workers who have seen their jobs shipped overseas; all those left behind by the Clinton-era boom, as well as the millions who lost a home in the Bush recession or remain excluded from the skewed Obama recovery-- they still need a voice, and a champion, in this election."

Winning the White House was a thrilling dream. Winning power-- durable power, the kind that makes laws and holds elected officials to account-- is a longer, more grueling fight. That, however, is the task we face now. In the coming weeks, Sanders and his supporters will need to make clear exactly what he’s fighting for, both inside the Democratic Party and beyond. As his campaign officials rightly point out, Sanders’s support keeps growing. He may well win more states, and will arrive at the convention with enough delegates to push not just for a progressive platform but for procedural changes-- such as an end to superdelegates or a ban on PAC money in primaries-- that could level the playing field for the next generation of insurgents. He could also demand the appointment of party officials less addicted to corporate cash. In the meantime, he could direct a lot more of his attention and money to candidates down the ticket who share his politics.

An inside strategy alone, though, will never deliver political revolution. As Dan Cantor of the Working Families Party told me, “You can’t occupy the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party will end by occupying you.”

The WFP model of fusion politics-- using the opening created by New York’s election laws to build an independent power base by endorsing progressive Democrats without playing a spoiler role-- may not be the answer nationwide: Thousands of WFP members worked hard for Sanders, but in New York’s closed primary, many of them couldn’t vote for him. It’s not a bad place to start thinking, though, about how to heal the terrible racial fissure that split progressives in what is arguably the most progressive state in the country. We need to ask ourselves why a movement candidate in a movement moment still fell short, and Sanders and his supporters need to be at the center of that conversation, listening as well as leading.

Finally, the tone of the campaign needs to change-- on both sides. Sanders needs to keep fighting hard on the issues, and Clinton needs to pivot-- not away from Sanders supporters but toward them. She may gain the nomination by defeating Sanders, but she won’t win in November without embracing his issues and convincing his supporters that she, too, feels the Bern.
These people at the thermometer below feel the Bern and will bring the revolution to Congress if they get elected. It's worth helping them. But to answer the question in the title... maybe Hillary should forget about a neoliberal running-mate like Julian Castro. Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkeley, Barbara Lee would all be much better ideas.
Goal Thermometer



At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't remember the last presidential debate I chose to experience.

My desire not to be politically insulted in this manner was disrupted recently.
A "leftist" talk radio show I listen to ran some clips of the NY debate between Sanders and the Generalisssima.

It confirmed both my opinion of such debates in general and that I would no more vote for Clinton as high dive, face-first, into a forest of tight-packed, red-hot, tips-up javelins.

Clinton is the epitome of an arrogant, shallow, sleazy, self-serving politician.
She "boasted" of having spent 25 years "fighting" for a universal health care system.

I should vote for someone who is either that incompetent, or such a blatant liar* AND who admires Henry Kissinger?!?

John Puma

* Sanders met with HR Clinton in 1993 after she was appointed chair of hubby’s Task Force on National Health Care Reform.
“In February, Sanders requested a meeting with Hillary, 'to bring in two Harvard Medical School physicians who have written on the Canadian system,' according to the records of the administration’s task force. Those physicians were Stephanie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein, leading advocates for single-payer health care. 
They got their meeting at the White House that month, and the two doctors laid out the case for single-payer to the first lady. She said, ‘You make a convincing case, but is there any force on the face of the earth that could counter the hundreds of millions of the dollars the insurance industry would spend fighting that?’ recalled Himmelstein. And I said, 'How about the president of the United States actually leading the American people?’ and she said, ‘Tell me something real.’ ”

Anyone else getting a bit tired of hearing what an alleged candidate for "leader of the free world" is SURE we we CAN'T do?

At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democratic Left circular firing squad is now in formation and ready to throw the election to Trump?

I'm a strong Bernie supporter (have been for 30 years) and know many other strong Bernie supporters, and all of us will give our vote to elect the Democrat, ostensible or not, against any GOP candidate in 2016. Hillary's primary tactics and many of her leanings disgust me, but so frigging what? Grow the hell up.

To vote otherwise would not bring about at long last the manifestation of the mythical 'creative destruction' and force a tilt in 2018 or 2020 toward progressive Democrats. How'd that work out for you in 2004, and in 2000 for that matter? No, sitting out or voting 3rd party is just pissing into the waiting whirlwind.

Sure you're angry at the Party. So am I. Have been since after '72. But it would just be destruction if Hillary is defeated in the general.

History shows that only sustained protest and other outside force has forced Democratic presidents' hand, once elected, toward progressive action, even our sainted FDR and our compromised friend LBJ, who succeeded largely because the ghost of JFK was whipping the national and congressional vote.

We must substitute effective organizing and political action for our anger, rants, and tantrums. Or we SHOULD blame ourselves, and justifiably so, if we sit out in 2016.

At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A party establishment that doesn't allow Independents to vote in most primaries is obviously more concerned about maintaining power than defeating the Republican nominee.

At 12:41 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Great rant by Jimmy Dore on Hillary.


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