Like many Sanders supporters, I have thrown my heart and soul into his campaign. I have blogged, phone banked, donated, posted, and emailed for Bernie. Quite aside from the time and effort, like most I am emotionally invested in Sanders for president. I am unalterably opposed to Hillary Clinton and am firmly in the Bernie or Bust camp.
All of my comrades in the Bernie or Bust camp are going to be very disappointed if Bernie does not win the Democratic nomination. Many are going to be disappointed in Bernie when he supports Hillary if she is the nominee. Most would rather see Bernie run as an independent in November if he doesn’t win the nomination in Philadelphia. Many have pledged to write-in Sanders even if he supports Clinton.
We all need to get on the same page.
First, we all need to understand exactly what is going on and why.
Bernie entered the Democratic primaries pledged to support whomever won the nomination. There was little likelihood that Bernie would be anywhere as successful as he has been. Nor did we expect questionable conduct by the Clinton campaign involving vote irregularities in many states.
Even so, Bernie made a promise.
If Hillary wins the nomination, many, such as yours truly, have implored him to renege on that commitment and to opt for an independent or third party run in the general election against Hillary Clinton. It is a safe bet that such a move is not going to happen.
Were I advising Bernie, and aware that his sense of honor and propriety forbade him from going back on his word, I would counsel him to use his considerable leverage to accomplish several goals which would work to help our political revolution.
Bernie can insist on major portions of his positions in the primaries be incorporated into the Democratic platform and force Hillary to run on those positions. Bernie can demand a veto on appointments to the DNC and its leadership. And Bernie can demand a role in appointments to fill vacancies to the Supreme Court.
That said, Bernie will be a minor player in the Senate during a Hillary Clinton administration. Bernie will continue organizing the political revolution, but will be in Clinton’s shadow for the duration of her tenure in office.
Quite a different scenario will emerge if Hillary is defeated by Donald Trump. Bernie’s role in the party and as the leader of its progressive wing will be profoundly more important.
Bernie will be the new leader of the party. His firebrand political organizing will be geared to winning the midterm elections in 2018 and in building the progressive control of the party toward the 2020 elections. The political revolution will be alive and well. And Bernie will be in charge.
Trump (or Hillary or Bernie) will fail to get any meaningful or controversial legislation through the divided Congress. The Republicans will continue to hold the House and the Democrats will retake control of the Senate. Whomever is president will be considered a failure and will be very unpopular heading into the 2018 and 2020 elections.
And that fact is critical, because winning control of statehouses in 2018 and 2020 is the key to Control of the House of Representatives through the year 2030.
Congressional districts are reapportioned every ten years, after the taking of the US Census. In 2010 the Republicans successfully won enough statehouses to control reapportionment. Through a process known as gerrymandering, they stacked the deck in their favor, crafting a majority of safe districts for Republicans across the country. The result has been that Republicans have more Members of Congress even though Republicans received fewer total votes than did Democrats.
In 2020 reapportionment will occur again, following the Census. If Democrats do not win back a majority of statehouses, the Republicans will be able to repeat in 2020 what they did in 2010: control the House for another ten years.
If Hillary is elected in 2016, Democrats can kiss the House goodbye until 2030.
Consider: She will be a failed unpopular president because of gridlock in Washington. That gridlock will be even more pronounced than Obama has been experiencing. Her current disapproval ratings will look positively benign compared to the levels to which they will dive once in office.
An unpopular president has almost no down ballot coattails to help state and local Democrats. Republicans will sweep local races as they did in 2010.
Even with the popular incumbent president Barack Obama in 2014, Democrats were unable to win the House. Under Hillary in 2018 we will do much worse. Same with the 2020 campaign, especially if Hillary is seeking re-election. It will be a Republican landslide.
The exact opposite result will occur if Donald Trump is elected in 2016. He, too, would accomplish nothing, and would be even more unpopular than he is currently.
Democrats would sweep in 2018 and in 2020. We would control reapportionment and control the House through 2030.
And most importantly, it would be accomplished under Bernie’s leadership with the revolution proceeding ahead at full speed. Progressives at all levels of government will be elected because of Bernie. Millennials will grow into positions of authority and influence in government, business, and society.
America will fundamentally change!
Defeating Hillary is key to achieving the goal. We need to remove her from control of the party and we need to prevent her from leading the party into oblivion in 2018 and 2020.
To accomplish those two ends, we must not throw away our votes nor stay home in protest. Writing-in Bernie serves no purpose whatsoever, except to assuage our consciences. Unless a write-in candidate declares that he or she is a write-in candidate, votes for that person are not even counted. Voting for Dr Jill Stein of the Greens or Clifford Roberts of the Humane party, or voting Libertarian or Peace and Freedom, etc, will accomplish little. Those parties are irrelevant the day the polls close.
The way to defeat Hillary is to vote for Donald Trump.
For those with reservations about voting for a neocon warmonger who supports military interventionism, regime change, and the bombing of civilians, Trump is a welcome respite. Aside from holding positions significantly more progressive than Hillary on those issues, he is also more progressive on trade, corporate control of government, universal healthcare, and the revolving door between government and industry.
The irony is that Donald Trump will help Bernie Sanders’ political revolution, even if unintentionally.
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