Bernie’s Revolution vs the Political Status Quo

bernie tanksBernie’s revolution means bringing the country together in support of universal medical care, free tuition at state colleges and universities, an end to Wall Street ownership of candidates and officeholders, public financing of campaigns, an end to the revolving door between industry and government, raising the contribution ceiling on Social Security, increasing the minimum wage, reforming our barbaric criminal justice system, instituting a massive federal jobs program to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, etc.

Any Democratic candidate who does not support these objectives should be defeated. Better to have a Republican for the next term than have an entrenched Wall Street Democrat in the way of a progressive challenger in the next election cycle.

Heretical as that may sound to progressive ears, electing Donald Trump will help Bernie’s revolution.

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.

The argument against a Trump presidency that resonates most with liberals is the Supreme Court. Liberals are terrified that Trump could make one or more appoints to the Court.
Progressives would love to see progressives appointed to the Supreme Court. And were we to have any expectations that Hillary would make such appointments, this issue alone would decide the race. But the last three nominations made to the Court by Obama have not been progressive, and Obama is substantially more liberal than is Hillary. Merrick Garland, Obama’s most recent nomination is a right of center Republican.

On trade there is no appreciable difference between Hillary and George W Bush. On foreign policy there is no appreciable difference between Hillary and Dick Cheney. Under the control of Wall Street Democrats, there is no appreciable difference between the Democratic party and the Republican party on Wall Street control of government, on the revolving door, on corporate welfare.

Why would progressives expect Hillary to appoint a progressive to the Supreme Court?

Because she says she’s a progressive? Hillary also says she is a moderate and a centrist.

Because of her actions? Hillary has been a right of center politician for decades.

Because we need to believe she is better than Trump? Trump is more progressive than Hillary on a host of issues, including military interventionism, trade, the revolving door, corporate welfare, Wall Street ownership of government.

The best case scenario under Clinton is we get a corporatist sensitive to social issues. The worst case under Trump is we get a corporatist who is not.

All that must be weighed against what a Hillary presidency would mean: Four or eight years of the same DNC style attacks on Bernie’s revolution, the loss of reapportionment in 2020, meaning GOP control of the House of Representatives through 2030, and the very high probability that Hillary will shove the TPP down our throats, after some minor changes.

On the other hand, President Trump will mean that Bernie’s revolution continues unabated. It will mean that Democrats sweep elections in 2018 and 2020, assuring that Republicans are unable to gerrymander reapportionment after the 2020 Census. Democrats will control the House for a decade. The TPP will be rejected out of hand, and Trump will force the renegotiation or outright rejection of every other trade agreement.

Put into perspective, the choice between Hillary and Trump could not be more clearly defined.

It is absurd to claim Roe v Wade will be overturned or that LGBT rights will be negated. This is the paranoia drummed up by the establishment. Trump will have to get any nominee past a Democratic Senate. At worst we will get another Scalia, which is where we were earlier this year.

As for Citizens United, even if we were to see it overturned, all that would do is to return bribery to 2010 levels. Of much more concern is that Hillary would have 8 years to pack the court with Wall Street lawyers, and that Hillary holding office will prevent Elizabeth Warren or another progressive from being elected in 2020.

Voting Republican is not something in which I am experienced. I have been a Democratic activist since I was 12 years old, working on Averill Harriman’s gubernatorial re-election campaign in Brooklyn in 1958. I headed students for Kennedy at Erasmus Hall High School in 1960. I have been a professional political strategist for Democratic candidates for office since 1976. I have held positions in nine Democratic presidential campaigns, and directed campaigns for two sitting Democratic presidents and four Democratic presidential contenders,

I have never voted for a Republican in my life.

However, should Bernie be unsuccessful in his effort to defeat Hillary, I will be working for Donald Trump.

 

 

Author’s Notes:.

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