Further, spoiler role aside, Sanders' role as breakthrough political educator for the uninvolved or uninformed will transform mindsets and the national debate. He will certainly renew that lost '60's commitment to justice for all across real-world politics and government. If the pendulum is ever to reverse, Sanders today looks to be our best instrument. What more independent or forthright figure provides to the distressed a vision, if not an agenda that things can be different, if not better? What other daring (if measured) "socialist" defines a populist platform that might eventually revitalize the stagnating role of third parties to push civilized goals?
Winning Isn't Everything
In short, Sanders offers progressives the best way not to "waste time" this season. And that doesn't depend on his winning the nomination or the White House but 1) derailing the Clinton train (and WH train wreck), 2) dramatizing the unspeakably expensive "costs" to everything and everybody to sustain income and asset inequality (the issue of this era), and 3) countering voter cynicism, on the left and right, about campaigns, elections, politics, and government. Who else comes close? What other option is there?
In this context, I anticipate historians to come will excoriate Obama not only for his rightwing agenda but setting up, then squandering for a generation chances for a New New Deal. It was Obama's bait-and-switch hustle (powered by brilliant campaigns) that played on, then dashed reform hopes on the stultifying, status quo rocks. Sanders offers respite from this unending shipwreck.
Finally, that returns us to Hedges' still tenuous optimism, "there is, however, a new, emergent consciousness. It has not reached the majority. But it has reached enough of the minority to make resistance possible." That most visible political minority now stands with Bernie, and whether we're talking resistance or evolution or revolution remains to be seen. If successful, the Sanders' movement can stagger HC across NY, CA, IL, OR, WA, VT, and MA, among others. There's no evidence yet Sanders will automatically "sheepdog" Democratic voters into Clinton's camp or the craven corporatism party leaders represent. Unintended or complex consequences still rule the day.
Bernie the Giant Slayer
"Bernie the Giant Slayer" is good enough to justify rallying the protest forces, reinforced by his humane and moral notions of justice, reviving our true national "exceptionalism." There is nothing "idiotic" about deposing a bad queen (linked to a suspect king) so we challenge plutocracy triumphant. If BS's earnest, self-effacing honesty can topple Hillary, elbowing this Humpty-Dumpty off the wall, that glorious disruption invites more Black Swans. A bank of Black Swans could feel dispel rows of arrogant, disgraced WS bankers, even beyond the $30 billion in fines and penalties paid in the last two years. And the Koch Bros. conspiracy.
Why, Sanders could even corral Hedge's "emergent consciousness" and turn it into some thing far more visible, potent, and publicly decisive. And combining resistance with disobedience could incite the progressive movement -- one that outlives Bernie Sanders, but not without gratitude to him for the courage to confront and define, even threaten the dark forces of American politics and crony capitalism. For me it's never "idiotic" or a waste of time to openly, repeatedly reprimand the 1% for acting as if it owns everything, like every election. Not quite yet.
(Article changed on June 20, 2015 at 13:52)