Now that Clinton has virtually sewed up the Democratic nomination, it's time
for Sanders supporters to reassess their commitment to the political revolution
he represents. There seems little doubt that those who have not yet voted will
cast their ballots for him when they have the chance. The issue is what they
will do in November. It is a sure thing that the revolution will not continue if
Bernie's backers line up behind with Clinton. Will they submit to the politics
of fear, hold their noses and vote for the representative of all that they
stand against, as Clinton and her smug supporters assume? Or will they hold their ground, choosing to
risk a Trump presidency to make the point that there is a line that
progressives will not cross? That is the question at the heart of the Bernie or
It has been argued that Bernie or Bust was a way to influence how Democrats voted in the primaries. The idea was that if voters leaning toward Clinton understood the depth of disgust toward the darling of Wall Street, they would realize that she could actually lose by Sanders supporters withholding their support. The hope was that many of those who preferred Sanders' stands on the issues would quit rationalizing their support of Clinton on the false premise that she was more electable, which polls have consistently indicated is not the case. That argument is now moot, however. So, is there still a place for the Bernie or Bust strategy, or was it always just about appealing to the fears of Democratic rank-and-file? For anyone who understands just how desperately we need a political revolution, the only possible answer is a resounding "yes."
It is positively mind-blowing to many Sanders supporters that a majority of Democrats nationwide have up until now cast their votes for a candidate backed by Wall Street who has a record of unrivaled militarism, claims that universal health care is economically unsound despite all the proof to the contrary, who lies even about trivial things (and then about lying about them), backs free trade except when running for President, calls her Democratic opponent a liar and his supports naïve, then insists that he is destroying the Democrat's chance to beat Trump. There are no rational grounds to argue that she is any kind of progressive, even in the absolutely broadest sense of the term. Those serious about political "revolution" can hardly support her just when they have the chance to make clear the depth of their conviction that they can no longer accept the status quo.
It started when Bill Clinton supported NAFTA, welfare "reform," banking deregulation, "humanitarian intervention" in Kosovo, three strikes, discriminatory drug crime sentencing and other policies favored by the conservatives and corporate donors he was courting. He has never been held responsible for doing what no Republican would have been able to. Like Hillary, he was granted immunity from all his reprehensible actions because he was unjustly accused of others. The time for excuses is over.
The American economy has been devastated by the actions of Clinton's Wall Street patrons, who not only remain unpunished but continue to direct economic policy. Economic inequality rivals that of the Gilded Age. College debt is economically handicapping a generation. Health care costs remain out of control and tens of millions remain uninsured despite the added cost to taxpayers of Obamacare. We are engaged in what appears to be endless war, with Clinton promising to double down in Syria, Libya and anywhere else where the interests of her corporate backers in the military industrial complex are threatened. Most critically, we are entering a period when climate instability threatens the existence of human civilization and possibly the survival of mankind.
Climate change will determine how much time we have to deal with the consequences of corporate control of the US government. As Bill McKibbin and others have been warning with increasing urgency, time is running out to act. There is nothing in Clinton's record to suggest that she will stand up to those who have put her in power. Even when she claims to oppose a corporate power grab like TPP or NAFTA, she only does so when she is in the spotlight of a presidential campaign and in doing so, lies about her record of past support. How can we trust her when the survival of the planet is at stake?
"Incrementalism" has proven itself over the years to be two steps backward for every one forward. Clintonism has been the path that has led to this point. We cannot wait four years or more to let the Democratic Party know that we are not going to tolerate the corruption of the system that has led nearly 40% of Americans to give up on voting. If we are ever going to force our government to act in our own interests, we must refuse to vote for candidates who make excuses for not even trying, calling it "pragmatism." The only reason that single payer health care, ending a self-defeating "war" on terror, regulating the banking and finance industry and creating an economy that works for everyone are "not politically possible" is that average Americans and their elected officials accept the corruption of money in politics as normal, when it should be unacceptable.
Now is the time for the real revolution to begin.
This article was originally posted on the website of Soldiers For Peace International. It may be reproduced, unedited and with attribution, without prior permission of the author.