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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/27/16

Warning -- the sheepdog sellout begins: Sanders seeks company for his party-platform capitulation dance; don't join him.

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Message Rob Hager

"[O]ur very praise of unanimity, therefore, is to be considered as a danger to liberty... if in matters of controversy, the sense of any ... party is invariably pursued, the cause of freedom is already betrayed" - Adam Ferguson (1767) p. 482-83

At least 12 million Sanders supporters have been watching to see where Bernie Sanders will invest the considerable political capital, not to mention the money which paid for it, that they have entrusted to him. John Stauber and Binoy Kampmark, among others, analyzed Sanders' opportunity to address his followers on this subject in Sanders' important post-primaries Burlington speech in order to predict his intentions. Stauber, like many, saw that speech as a clear move toward Sanders' pending capitulation to become a Clinton supporter. Sanders could have used his end-of-primaries speech to mobilize his supporters behind a competent strategy to negotiate for real concessions going forward, if not to explain an even more aggressive Convention-floor-fight strategy over DNC Rules to continue his pursuit of the nomination.

Having failed his supporters' expectations, but at least arguably left ambiguities about his ultimate intentions whether to fight or to capitulate, Sanders was soon given another opportunity by the Bezos Post to address both his supporters and the DNC in answer to the question "what does Sanders want?" That open-ended question could easily be understood as calling for a considered explanation of a very specific set of demands that would comprise a coherent Convention strategy. To either defeat or support Clinton's flawed candidacy, Sanders would need to gain important strategic concessions from the corrupt Democratic Party. Without demands there are no victories.

Sanders again flatly avoided making the kind of specific, strategic demands that his followers might think worth the price of their support for the corrupt Democratic Party, such as the four-fold strategy suggested in my previous article about this same subject of the campaign's persistent strategic incompetence. A strategy that could still map a credible path to victory by an aggressive Convention challenge to a corrupt and closed process was described in more detail in other articles. Instead Sanders wasted his WaPo article to escape into reciting his list of policy goals of the kind that might find their way into the dead-letter department of a party platform. In this era of systemic corruption a party platform contains nothing more than the lies that politicians tell voters to get elected. But this was where Sanders seemed ready to invest his capital.

Sanders meanwhile failed to provide the slightest hint of any strategic path to reaching those policy goals, whether by unifying with the Democratic Party or otherwise. He thus provided only a fantasy wish list totally unhinged by strategy to any political reality. That prop was used to lead his more naive supporters to the fraudulent proposition that a corrupt party's platform is a means to realize such a wish list. Promoting the idea that its platform has any bearing at all on future policy pursued by a Democratic establishment in the current corrupt system constitutes a serious failure of leadership and breach of faith with his supporters, who reasonably expected more from one who called for "Our Revolution."

Sanders' supporters have now just received by email a petition that is intended to solicit support for his either fraudulent or strategically incompetent diversion of energy to the Democratic Party platform, where the revolution is expected to go to die. There are no more excuses to make for Sanders' incompetence. The ambiguities are now clarified. Sanders has now done with this email just what many have expected Sanders would do from the evidence of his public preparations for this sellout. His follow-up public announcement that he will vote for Clinton means he plans to have no opportunity to vote for himself, the only vote for which his supporters signed up. His "job," he says, is to influence the platform, not the restoration of democracy from an element of the corrupt system that must be overcome, not supported without good reason.

Sanders' petition-email ploy provides a rare opportunity for Sanders' supporters to communicate directly with his campaign what they think about his flawed platform strategy by which Sanders seeks to camouflage his sell-out. Over the course of his campaign many have tried to find a means of influence to ward off Sanders' prior series of strategic errors that, along with election theft, caused his defeat. None are known to have succeeded. The campaign that "Berned" through an enormous (by progressives' standards) war-chest of campaign funds has been hermetically sealed against access by supporters who would warn against or correct his many strategic failures. That is why the opportunity given by this petition should not be ignored.

Sanders formulated his petition in a deliberate manner to elicit public support for his idiotic, if not fraudulent, proposition that "the platform matters." His petition limits supporters' response options to reform of the platform. Any response to the click-bait policies will be interpreted as support for irrelevant changes to the platform, rather than simply the predictable support of Sanders' supporters for the wish list of popular policies already familiar from the campaign. The petition designs to be interpreted as support for Sanders' petition fraud, so he can blame the fraud on his supporters' wishes.

Warning! Do not be tricked into clicking any of this policy bait that Sanders has laid out for the unsuspecting. There is no way that putting any of it in a corrupt party's platform is going to bring these policies any closer to realization. The idea that any changes in the platform could constitute "very, very important victories" is bizarre. But in order to communicate to Sanders that the propaganda exercise called the Democratic Party Platform does not matter, and is not what Sanders' supporters want, please do take this opportunity to respond in a different way to his emailed petition so as to encourage the investment of his political capital for useful purposes.

Here is how to do it: Avoid the click bait altogether. Volunteer your own points instead. For convenience, readers might want to cut and paste the following two points in the "other ideas" space provided in the Sanders petition:

"1. If Bernie Sanders adopts the plan communicated by this petition, that he is going to waste political capital on the DNC platform, he will identify himself to be as big a fraud as the platform is itself. The single item in the list above worth spending energy on at the Convention, open primaries, can -- and therefore should -- only be implemented by a DNC Rules change, which would be effective, preferably in 2016. By inclusion in a platform it will only be relegated to instant irrelevance. For four strategic demands that should be made from Democrats, and which I support, see this article.

"2. Please stop talking about Citizens United. It is, like the notion that the platform matters, yet another diversionary fraud from true reform. Overturning Citizens United would have virtually no impact on the corrupt campaign-finance system. This is so puny and misleading a demand that even Jeb Bush supported it, as does Hillary Clinton. Buckley v Valeo (1976) is the Supreme Court travesty that must be overturned, because that would take down Citizens United and every other 'money is speech' case with it that currently props up the plutocracy."

By this emailed petition to his supporters Sanders signaled his formal abandonment of the revolution that he announced on MSNBC the next day, as well as his intention to manipulate his supporters to follow him. Those of us who are not similarly prepared to take a cowardly exit from the struggle for democracy through the party-platform ploy should prepare to do what we can do within the very particular circumstances of our own states, as Californians, Ohioans, New Yorkers, Minnesotans, and so forth. That is where elections are stolen in the first instance. The DNC can either endorse the state-level thefts, as if they were authentic elections, or reject them by adopting rules for credentialing that chop the delegate strength of states with closed or corrupt election processes.

Notwithstanding feints in that direction, the Sanders campaign failed to deploy its resources to provide leadership for such organizing for rules and process change at either the national or the state level. But the campaign does have an asset that it could easily share and that would facilitate such organizing efforts at the local level. Sanders himself in now promoting local politics as a diversion from his capitulation at the national level. State groups of Sanders delegates and other supporters should organize state steering committees to take over the party in states that he won and challenge election theft in the states that were stolen.

Legitimate state groups should request that the Sanders campaign transfer its lists of Sanders' state delegates, of his voters, and of his crowdfunding supporters to them so that what Stauber calls "Our Revolution," though abandoned by Sanders at the national level, can still proceed in a devolved fashion state by state to fight for a free and fair election process. Lacking competent leadership at the national level, it will only be by fighting the corrupt party at the state level that the national party can be taken over, until new national leadership emerges. If Sanders refuses to share this organizing tool with legitimate state groups it would amount to theft on the part of his campaign, as he proceeds to divert its use for the exact opposite of its original purpose -- continuation of the status quo political corruption in its very most blatant form, by way of a Clinton restoration.

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Rob Hager is a public-interest litigator who filed a Supreme Court amicus brief n the 2012 Montana sequel to the Citizens United case, American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock, and has worked as an international consultant on legal (more...)
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