Thursday, 21 April 2016

What should Bernie Sanders supporters do if he does not win the nomination?

Senator Sanders likes to talk about a political revolution in this country. I suspect a lot of the folks who aren't supporting him for President still agree that some of these broken systems need root and branch reform, and that we should be bolder about tackling them.

Or maybe that's just me.

Anyway, one of Senator Sanders more avid supporters popped up on Facebook to say that "He said that the "party needs to pay attention to the people and not the other way around." He says that he is feeling less committed to the Party now than ever before - despite being a lifelong Democrat.

I think this person has got it exactly backwards. If Team Sanders wants change, let them stay in and fight for it. In the country at large, they face nearly insurmountable obstacles to realising some of these objectives (although one or more Democratically appointed Supreme Court justice could some of them quite a bit easier). But in the Democratic Party, the door is wide open to them - not only do they have the existing support of a huge swathe of Democratic voters and leaders, they also would have a Clinton campaign team eager to bring those voters with her and willing (I suspect) to find common ground ahead of the general election.

There has never been a better time for a Democratic Socialist to commit himself to the Democratic party.

Which is no doubt the reason why Senator Sanders himself (who is no fool!) just did exactly that.
“If Sen. Sanders is not the nominee, will he stay in the Democratic Party forever now,” Bloomberg Politics’ Mark Halperin asked.
“Well, he is a Democrat. He’s said he’s a Democrat, and he’s gonna be [supporting] the Democratic nominee, whoever that is,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told Bloomberg Politics’ “With All Due Respect.”
“But he’s a member of the Democratic Party now for life?” Halperin pressed.
“Yes, he is,” Weaver said. “Yes, he is.”
Or, as I told my Bern-feeling friend:

That's your prerogative, of course, but it's not an attitude that's likely to win you much support amongst Democratic primary voters. Anyway, I don't understand this false dichotomy you have created here: there is "the people" and then there is "the party"? Nonsense. There is ONLY the people, and some of them - many of them the people who care most passionately about a progressive future - join and work for the party. Some of those people run for office. And if some of the people don't like the things that those people running for office for their Party say and do, they get to make their case - by campaigning or speaking up, or running against them. If those people don't happen to win it's not because "the people" are being shafted by "the party", it's because the people in the party disagree with them. That's the breaks. And Hillary knows that better than anyone, because having lost crushingly after earning a ridiculously large number of votes last time around, she didn't hesitate to throw herself body and soul behind supporting the person who beat her. I expect no less of Bernie if he should lose (as looks likely) and would expect Hillary to do just the same again if she should lose (as is still possible). If your position is that Bernie (for instance) would be winning the race hands down if only Independent voters could vote in this election, then it seems to me the more logical approach is to spend the next 4 years moving heaven and earth to get those Independents INTO the party - because a small shift in party activists can make a huge impact on the party's positions. But if, instead, Bernie supporters are so frustrated with a losing outcome that they leave the party and start running third party bids, then that's certainly their prerogative, but it leaves the Party entirely in the hands of the folks they disagree with and excludes them from power more or less indefinitely. Which is a choice you can make, but it seems contrary to your stated objectives here.