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 Clifton 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.
But Trump’s actual positions are irrelevant,
He will not be able to implement any controversial proposals, as he will face the same divided Congress that Hillary would face. The Republicans controlling the House, the Democrats controlling the Senate.
The value in a Trump presidency is that it will not be a Hillary Clinton presidency,
We will have kicked the Wall Street Democrats to the curb.
The irony is that Donald Trump will help Bernie Sanders’ political revolution, even if unintentionally.
From the outset of his campaign Bernie recognized he would have to endorse Hillary. To be assured of a place at the table, Bernie feels he must put on the face of a loyal Democrat. It is probably killing him! But Bernie is taking the long view here. He is looking to the next several election cycles, fully aware that the old guard is on it’s last legs. The Millennials are coming! The entire Democratic party is changing before our eyes. And the next Democratic nominee, after Hillary, will be a Sanders progressive.
Bernie believes it would be easier to change the party into a democratic socialist party than it would be to grow the Greens into national contention. He knows that a significant number of rank-and-file Democrats mindlessly vote for the party. And he knows he must be perceived as having helped rather than hurt Hillary to avoid the establishment blaming Bernie if she loses. The best thing that could happen would be, of course, that Hillary is defeated, leaving Bernie and his progressives the major force in the party. But he can never admit as much.
The only weapon that the Democratic establishment can wield against the progressive left is that Bernie helped to defeat Hillary. And they only get to play that card if Hillary loses. But if Bernie has endorsed her and stumps for her, they have nothing to hold against Bernie.
As president, Hillary will be able to stack the party leadership as Obama did. Progressives will be frozen out and marginalized. Wall Street Democrats will have even more influence than they had under Obama. Bernie’s revolution will play out in Democratic primaries at the local level.
Policies that Bernie has been fighting will be implemented, Hillary will embrace the TPP, escalate international tensions with Russia, Iran, and China. She will support the TTIP, the next disastrous trade deal with Europe. Medicare for all will be a distant dream again.
But the biggest problem will be that Democrats will lose the 2018 midterm elections. The party in the White House loses midterm elections. Look at 2014, when we had a reasonably popular sitting president. Democrats lost seats in the House and Senate and were swept across the country. Hillary, who would be the least popular president ever elected, will undoubtedly do much worse in 2018 than Barack Obama did in 2014.
But successes at the state level are necessary to control reapportionment after the 2020 Census. The Republicans gerrymandered the House after the 2010 Census, and are set to do so again unless Democrats make substantial gains in governorships and legislative chambers in 2018. Thirty two governorships are up in 2018. If we do as poorly in 2018 as we did in 2014, the Republicans will control reapportionment in 2020 and will control the House until 2030.
The best case scenario for the Democrats if Hillary is elected is that we will have divided government through 2024. That even if a Democratic president is elected in 2024, Democrats will not control the presidency and both houses of Congress until 2030 at the earliest.
The best case scenario for the Democrats if Donald Trump is elected is that a progressive Democrat will be elected in 2020, we will already have swept the 2018 midterms, we will control reapportionment in 2020, and we will control the presidency and both houses of Congress in 2020.
Hillary will cost us ten years of progress!
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