We forget the political landscape of 2015 and the years before.
We forget that there was no champion for progressives, no leader speaking to the dismal record of the Obama administration, no leader advocating for universal healthcare, no leader demanding a living minimum wage, no leader calling out Wall Street and the banks for owning the federal government, no one leading a charge against fracking, Arctic drilling, Big Oil pipelines, or taxpayer subsidies to the oil industry,
The Democratic establishment had already crowned Hillary as president-in-waiting. Obama was going to see a third term of Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, and Wall Street hacks running the next administration.
A number of progressive Democrats implored Elizabeth Warren to run. When she blew us off we turned to Bernie Sanders.
Bernie electrified the left! He articulated so many of the issues that mattered to us. The progressive movement exploded!
Bernie, of course, is not perfect. He doesn’t connect all the dots on the left, but no one does. I find him weak on animal issues and much less a dove than I would have him be. Others take issue with his support for Israel, still others his support of the dairy industry and arms manufacturers.
But Bernie was, and is, the only national leader hostile to the oligarchy that controls the Democratic party.
And Bernie took the fight to them in the 2016 primaries.
Bernie captured the hearts, imaginations, and votes, of millions.
Few of them as knowledgeable, as motivated, or as sophisticated as the progressive activists who populate online forums, Facebook groups, or who read this blog. Of the millions who supported Bernie in the Democratic primaries, only a relative handful handful bailed on him and voted Green when he endorsed Hillary. A great many more progressives actually voted for Trump.
Most everyone who supported Bernie in the 2016 Democratic primaries is on-board for a Bernie run in 2020.
But we are all over the block on how he should proceed.
There are those of us who believe our future lies with the Green party. There are those who think Bernie Sanders should launch a Peoples’ party, and are busy petitioning him to do so. Most progressives are in Bernie Sanders’ camp, intent upon reforming the Democratic party.
Some on the left are so frustrated that Bernie supported Hillary that they fail to analyze the big picture. They also delude themselves that a groundswell of equally frustrated Democrats will flow into a third party. The patent absurdity of that happening was amply demonstrated by Jill Stein’s pitiful performance in November.
Selling a third party to American voters is no different than selling tires, cereal or creamed corn. To get consumers to purchase an unknown brand requires substantial marketing and advertising campaigns. Branding a political party is even more difficult than branding a product, as promotions and incentives are impossible to offer.
Those promoting the Greens or a People’s party ignore the most basic political truism: It would require the expenditure of billions upon billions of dollars to sufficiently brand the Greens or another third party to effectively make them a viable political alternative to the Democrats and Republicans.
Sanders believes the future of the progressive movement lies within the Democratic party.
I was one of his harshest critics when he endorsed the Whore of Wall Street. Like many Berners I hoped Bernie would run as a Green and challenge the two war and Wall Street parties.
In retrospect, Bernie made the right call. He would have lost as a Green. Trump would still have been elected president. But progressives would have been shut out of the Democratic party. The movement would have become marginalized. Bernie and his followers would have become as irrelevant as Jill Stein and the Greens are now.
Bernie was playing the long game. He must have been terrified that Hillary might have won. Had she, progressives would have also been shut out of the process, marginalized within the Democratic party, and the DNC and it’s corrupt hacks would never have been openly challenged.
In that light, there really was no downside for Sanders in supporting Hillary. And with endorsing Hillary, Bernie stood the chance of hitting the political jackpot: a Trump win.
With a Trump presidency, there will be no sitting Wall Street Democrat in the White House. A real possibility exists that the stranglehold that Wall Street hacks have had on the DNC may be broken.
There are more rank-and-file progressive Democrats than there are rank-and-file Wall Street Democrats. More liberals than neo-liberals. More leftists than there are oligarchs.
The reason progressives do not control the party is because Wall Street lobbyists have purchased our elected Democratic leaders.
They owned Obama, Biden, Reid, Pelosi, almost every Member of Congress and the Senate. In turn, those bought-and-paid-for Wall Street sycophants appointed DNC operatives, who appointed super-delegates, who stole the election from Bernie Sanders.
Some of us disagree with Bernie, some are skeptical of his strategy.
Bernie is the leader of those who will follow him. And most Berners will follow Bernie.
The immediate task at hand is to help Bernie take over the Democratic party.
And that is really the only option available to progressives. Every other course of action is a waste of time, energy, and resources. Third parties, petitioning Bernie to fall on his sword, howling at the moon, etc, accomplish nothing.
For those in the Democratic party, let’s get to work on Bernie’s revolution.
For those outside the party, #DemEnter.
For those who disagree, let’s set aside our differences for the next 3 years and get Bernie Sanders (or one of his political heirs) the Democratic nomination.
Animal activists and environmentalists have a more compelling interest in replacing Trump with a progressive in 2020 than do any others. That is because most of the Trump opposition is not progressive. Corporate and centrist Democrats, establishment Republicans, free trade lobbyists, multinational corporations, and many in the military-industrial complex are avowed enemies of Donald Trump. And those enemies do not give a damn about animals or the environment.
Replacing Trump with a Wall Street Democrat in 2020 would accomplish nothing for the animals or the environment. Merely joining the chorus of Trump critics is counter-productive for progressives, animal activists, and environmentalists. The cacophony of those screaming about Trump is drowning out those who are pointing out that Hillary and the Democrats are responsible for Trump.
The Democratic leadership could not be more transparent. By creating public hysteria about Trump, even the Wall Street hacks who run the Democratic party will appear progressive in comparison.
The Democratic leadership hopes to unite rank-and-file Democrats on women’s issues and immigration, and to thus nominate another Wall Street Whore in 2020. They hope to divert the attention of the rank-and-file from the chasm that exists between progressives and Wall Street Democrats.
The fact that the Democratic establishment opposes universal healthcare, which progressives support.
That Wall street Democrats support corporate welfare, which progressives oppose.
That Wall Street Democrats support corporate funding of campaigns and gifts to public officials, which progressives oppose..
That Wall Street Democrats support fracking, pipelines, Arctic drilling, mining on public lands, etc, all of which progressives oppose.
That Wall street Democrats support regime changes, the killing of civilians by drones, bombing of countries we are not at war with, etc. All of which progressives oppose. .
.Progressives will have none of it.
The protests in the streets are smoke and mirrors. They help the Hillbots, the Wall Street Democrats, DNC, the lobbyists who own most of the Congress.
So long as the protests are focused on Trump, the Democratic leadership is insulated from criticism and responsibility.
Should the protests instead be focused in favor of change, in favor of a new Democratic party, in favor of Bernie, in favor of political revolution, we will defeat both Trump and the neo-liberal corporatists who control the Democratic party.
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