Reprinted from Smirking Chimp
Well here we are in my least favorite phase of the election season. The part when pundits and politicians pile on en masse to pull public aspirations back.
Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, calls it the "We Shouldn't Even Try" attitude common among establishment Democrats. Ralph Nader calls them "The hereditary Democrat opinion-shapers" who tell their audiences to line up behind experience and electability -- as if it's that or certain death.
"This is designed to panic and mute their followers," says Nader, and all too often it does just that.
Think about it -- what brings people into the political process? I think of what Progressive Caucus co-chair Keith Ellison said when I asked him if he liked campaigning. I love it, he responded -- it's the time in the year when we talk to our neighbors about their lives and why we care. His eyes lit up.
Sure enough, a successful candidate is one like Ellison, the guy who rallies people to believe that the future is about more than fear -- and change is possible, in their lives, in their families, in their country. And they can be a part of it.
Bernie Sanders has rallied a lot people -- just that way -- most especially young voters. He's received 80-plus percent of the youth vote in several states.
What happens in elections, is candidates talk to people, eyes bright, promises on their lips. They persuade people they can be powerful, they matter, they're needed. But what we tend to mean is vote. And after voting, people are expected to cede all their political power back to their political representatives. The panic and mute sets in early in the US system, after the primaries.
No wonder the electorate shrinks smaller and smaller. Will Sanders supporters do it? What if they don't? What if they channeled their energy into building progressive power at the local level? What if they refused to give in to panic and mute?
Tell me what you think. Write to me Laura@lauraflanders.com