In this topsy-turvy anti-establishment election year, is there really hope for old-school big-tent party revival?
By Michael Emero
May 2, 2016
A lot of people (including Hillary) have gotten themselves worked up hearing that many Bernie supporters will not be supporting Clinton should she be nominated. They say such people are selfish, naive, are destroying or "splitting up the party", "don't understand politics", and are "letting the bad guys (Republicans) win". Some even go so far as to say that a vote for anyone but Hillary is a vote thrown away, or a vote for Republicans, and the 'side of right' is to stay "true blue."
With respect, that's a complete bunch of bull. It's a narrative that skews and ignores the facts, pandering to misguided emotional pressures of guilt, fear, tones of superiority and outdated pointless party-rallying using the ever-present lesser of two evils logical fallacy.
Allow me explain to you what's actually going on.
1. Both the Republican and Democratic parties are in miserable shape. The number of people polled who identify as either are hitting record lows, in the low 20%'s according to some research. It's not really a surprise- as the two parties controlling our government and resulting legislation, it's become apparent that neither party accurately reflects nor represents the will of the people any more. That observation is supported by the fact that over 40% of Americans now identify themselves as Independent voters- free thinkers who reject the narrow, limited narratives and Coke-or-Pepsi options offered by the current status quo. If that percentage actually registered and voted as such, any half competent Independent candidate could likely easily win nationally; only apathy, lack of financial backing, and our country's two-party stranglehold has (as of yet) kept that from occurring. Those points considered, a populist candidate running on either party ticket draws voters to register with that party, but does not in any way indicate a preference or obligation toward that party. In fact, not having been a member previously hints they weren't that drawn to it to begin with. Kind of like going to a restaurant you don't really like because they are temporarily serving pumpkin pie shakes. With many people- even Republicans- switching to Democrat status simply to vote for Bernie, it's become obvious that the almighty heavily-pushed party classification is far less important than ideals, policy, and individual qualification- as it should be.
2. Thanks to lifelong Independent Bernie's choice to run as a Democrat, the Democratic party has received a huge influx of new voters. An entire new generation plus just got political, showing up to vote, volunteering as delegates, marching nationwide, attending rallies by the tens of thousand, and taking part in the complicated, archaic caucus processes with excitement and genuine enthusiasm. The candidate these masses are supporting is simply above reproach from a Democratic progressive stance- Bernie's (justifiably) being called another FDR, with his common sense, honesty, and no-nonsense approach to equality, fairness, and justice reform. It's a winning candidate with a winning platform, geared directly toward the principles and goals that the Democratic party has historically long fought for. Even the very name of the party- Democratic- encapsulates the essence of political revolution he has awakened. The right of fair representation in elections and government without the involvement and reliance on corporate and special interest money. The right to have our voices heard and count no matter what our demographic, location, or economic status. It's the basis to our growing problem of corruption and oligarchy in this country, which in turn is the crux for just about every other issue we struggle with individually, domestically, and abroad. Simply bringing it to the forefront of national attention, when so many others refuse, shows brave, ethical leadership, the like and popularity of which has not been seen since JFK.
3. The Republican side traditionally favors corporate control without government "interference", right-wing southern bias extremism, and has been the voice of overzealous religious doctrine and firearm "rights". This campaign cycle, thanks in large part to Trump, the struggling party has become the official party of chaos. The majority of his supporters are everyday people who are just as anxious, stressed out, and angry about the state of our government, economy, and country as you and I. The difference is mainly only in method and perspective. Trump followers are those seeking justification- any justification- of empowerment or superiority in a world that systematically oppresses and controls. He attracts the victims-turned-mob as easily as the bullies looking for a fight. He caters to the television-fed crowd who buys into his empty bravado and immature pompous demagoguing as 'strength'. His inciteful rallies gather the confused, the desperate, the violent, the easily led, and even some of the intellectuals who have given up entirely on our broken processes, welcoming his political train wreck as a hopefully forced catalyst for must-needed revolutionary change. The scary thing is, it may happen. The more our government continues its status quo course, refusing transparency and accountability, refusing to let policy reflect the will of the people, refusing to cease the practices that keep the majority of Americans in economic servitude under the rich, the more the people will believe that complete chaos and anarchy might be preferable to take chances on, if only for a while to end the worsening establishment reign. Can you really blame the American people for learning from and imitating our own radical, logic-be-damned, interventionist regime-change policies that ignore long-term consequences for sake of immediate rash action?
This leaves the Democratic party in the best possible situation. They couldn't have planned this any better. They're the last guys standing with a shred of perceived rationality left, with the potential to emerge as the matured voice of reason. The only thing they have to do to rise as the overwhelming majority party in this country is to stand up for the very values they've been (increasingly emptily) claiming to fight for and represent all along. If they redefine the concept of politics closer to the public goals, align themselves as the provable, evidence-based transparent party for truth, justice, equality, unity, rationalism, peace and pride, the masses will flock to the call. An actual, genuine support of traditional American values is terrifyingly overdue, as is evident in our growing fervent support for an old-school, pragmatic civil servant preaching honesty, individual empowerment through unity, universal quality of life, and respect for all. The vast majority of people, especially the youth, can literally no longer afford apathetic un-involvement. Even the least motivated are finding it's past time to rise up and demand better, and the establishment political parties can either be part of the emerging movement or oppose it. The Republicans frankly wouldn't be believable in this role, and currently have their hands full being a catch-all mess of willful ignorance, stubborn stonewaller traditionalists, sanctified bigotry, and the bored or discontent who define 'great' as 'firing' minorities and victims with eager boorish scapegoating. Only the Democrats are poised to seize the control they have long desired, yet have counter-intuitively been using Republican-style tricks and the "party loyalty" tactic to try and gain. But people are only loyal when they share something to believe in, something people can have pride in. Accepting Bernie as the nominee and committing to overdue party reorganization would be a monumental victory, not just for the Democratic party, its members, but also the future of America and its people. Some would even argue, the world.
So why isn't it happening?
The establishment has continued to promote and back the establishment candidate. They continue to repeat words like 'inevitable', 'electable' and 'presidential' even when the facts, history, and all polls prove the exact opposite. We are told the establishment candidate is the one who can 'get things done', while all the existing stalemating factors of the Obama administration increase; contrast that with the populist candidate, who is referred to as the "amendment king", successfully working with both sides of the aisle. The American people are justifiably upset and disrespected by our government's corrupt 'routine' policies of injustice, wealthy privilege, and corporate agendas over the needs of its citizenry. Yet the establishment adds insult to injury by trying to convince us someone who has and continues to successfully profit off, was instrumental in, and built a career based on those exact abhorrent practices can be a realistic champion against them. And if you turn off CNN, do some actual data-driven instead of rhetoric-driven research following the money, things go from looking bad to looking worse. The media is part of the agenda, Super PACs are funneling millions into guided coverage from Wall Street funding, and those who get their news from TV now end up being the most uninformed, biased, brainwashed voters- because it's being planned that way. The more voters find out about reality, the less happy they are in being patted on the head and told that even reacquiring our opportunities, distribution of wealth, and wages' buying power from twenty years ago is "unrealistic". All pretense of informed choice, journalistic integrity, and true democracy is frankly being orchestrated toward the highest-bidder end-goal. To top it off, anyone talking about these serious issues are routinely told we're naive, lied to, misinformed, and dismissed summarily with double-talk along with any other uncomfortable truth. This is the Democratic party of today, playing politics just as dirty as the other guys to try and beat them at their own game, while ending up vilifying and slighting the candidate of a lifetime for having the guts and integrity to refuse to do so, even if it costs him the election.
So where will this lead?
If the Democratic party continues in its short-sighted thinking, sticks to its now failing routine plans, it can look forward to being largely responsible for its own demise, and perhaps even the end of the two party system as we know it. Without a home, without a voice, the people have already been seeking other options. Bernie has proven that catering to big money interests isn't actually needed (or desired) to run a very successful campaign. These third party plans will explode exponentially, emptying the temporarily surging Democratic rolls, if this increasingly unpopular establishment candidate is pushed upon an increasingly informed populace. Within a few years, the majority party will be an Independent one, with one or both traditional parties dwindling into dusty disgrace as embarrassing dinosaur testaments in history to selfish greed and abuses of power. A long tale of Democrats fighting on behalf of the people- even traditionally calling themselves the 'Party of the People'- will wither in sad death throes of corruption, distrust, and oligarchic obsession. All because they refused- with their un-democratic "Superdelegates", election mismanagement, voter disrespect, and attempted heavy-handed narrative spin- to walk the walk on the principles they sadly merely now give empty lip service to, then complain when the people are no longer fooled.
I hope it doesn't have to happen like that. This political revolution can be a joyful one of overwhelming unity, reasserting and upholding our national values together. The people want that, in fact are quite literally screaming in stadiums of 18,000+ for it. All the Democratic party has to do is prioritize the people it supposedly represents more than the corporations funding it. Yes, it's a leap of faith on both sides, but it starts with those that put us here, those that keep us here, those who still temporarily hold the reigns of power. It starts with Democratic officials not telling us what to think, who to vote for, or supporting a politically convenient but shallow narrative of lies and propaganda that insults our collective intelligence. If our vote is 'wasted', it isn't because of a wrong we did, that we're somehow responsible for correcting. It's the results of a party that needs help pushing weaker establishment candidates so pins success on its members gullibility and 'party loyalty'. If we 'don't understand politics', its because today's politics no longer understands or properly accounts for us and our values. But most importantly, this is a Democracy- it isn't the people's job to reflect the will of its Representatives. The very word 'representative' explains the job that modern career politicians largely no longer do... at least not for those of us without the undo influence of money on our side. It's become somehow okay to take every American's constitutional right to vote and apply shady mental gymnastics until they are guilted, pressured, or confused into doing 'what they are supposed to'. Which becomes more and more synonymous with what is best for the wealthy, and what goes against our own interests.
Funny, I thought the only thing we are 'supposed to do' as Americans, according to our founding fathers, is to uphold and defend the long-treasured virtues of individual freedom, justice, safety and ethical / social idealism against any foes, foreign or domestic. Which is what I am doing, to the best of my ability, by supporting Bernie Sanders, voting for him, and remaining a faithful Democratic delegate in a system that hopefully wakes up and starts representing me and the rest of the country. I would love to continue my service with pride in the years to come, but will go where my integrity and sense of justice are being upheld. As, I think, will most Americans. Because despite the narrative being pushed by Hillary, the establishment, and the media, we aren't the ones that are so woefully, sadly misguided. Ironically it's us who can and must ensure the future, since it's being proven over and over we cannot trust those currently liquidating ours. And then they have the gall to wonder why we're so committed to the one candidate with qualifications like honesty, accountability, equality, and civil rights.
#Solidarity #StillSanders #PoliticalRevolution