Friday, June 3, 2016

Keeping Bernie's eyes on the prize: A future to believe in.

Scriber has been wondering: at the end of this primary season, which Bernie will pop out of the box? The Bernie who started the campaign with a sense of purpose, driven to change the conversation, intending to revitalize the Democratic party? Or the Bernie who is in full attack mode? I still "yearn for Bern" but I prefer the former. I'm not alone.

Here's opinion from the editors of The Nation. The subtitle is clear about the prize.

[The Sanders campaign's] ideas and energy can lead to an era of progressive governance — if it keeps its eyes on the prize.

A year ago, Bernie Sanders launched his presidential campaign with an expression of outrageous faith in American democracy. At a point when the pundits said that the race for the Democratic nomination would be an afterthought, Sanders argued that a campaign “paid for by the people, not the billionaires” could upset expectations and begin a political revolution. By many measures, he has succeeded wildly: attracting huge crowds to rallies; drawing millions of young people and disenchanted voters to the polls; driving critical issues into the campaign; and winning 20 contests, 10 million votes, and about 1,500 pledged delegates by mid-May. Those numbers will rise substantially by the time the primary season comes to a close in mid-June. When it does, however, the challenge for the Sanders campaign will be to keep its sense of purpose. Sanders himself may not secure the nomination, but his supporters could yet secure the future—if they maintain the combination of idealism and fortitude that has been the campaign’s strength, while refusing to become enmeshed in personality clashes and petty feuds.

The editors go on to spell out what needs to be done. For example:

The Democrats can achieve unity around a progressive agenda if party leaders recognize the need for a clear alternative to Donald Trump; if the Sanders camp helps outline that agenda; and if the Clinton camp embraces enough of it to indicate a real break with the past. Some of this is already happening: Under pressure from the Sanders camp, Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz appointed a notably progressive platform-drafting committee. Sanders was given five places, and he filled them with people who will fight for bolder policies on climate change (350.org’s Bill McKibben), inequality (Congressional Progressive Caucus cochair Keith Ellison), Middle East peace (the Arab American Institute’s James Zogby), racial justice (Dr. Cornel West), and the need for an inclusive vision that speaks to all Americans (Native American activist Deborah Parker). Committee chair Elijah Cummings promises that Sanders backers will be heard, and they will have allies among the six Clinton picks, including labor activist Paul Booth and Congressman Luis Guti√©rrez, as well as nonaligned members like Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

The platform can also serve as a signal that the party is ready to fight not just for a win in November, but for a new era of progressive governance—an era that might include Bernie Sanders chairing the Senate Budget Committee; new progressive leaders like Zephyr Teachout, Pramila Jayapal, and Lucy Flores elected to Congress; and Senator Elizabeth Warren elevated to an even higher profile, perhaps as vice president. The role that Warren now plays in framing the party’s anti-Trump message offers an indication of what is possible. She and Sanders must be given prominent roles at the convention and in the general election. The Clinton camp should recognize that this is precisely what’s needed to energize her candidacy.

AZBlueMeanie offers a "reality check" on Bernie's chances for taking the nomination. The reasons are many to believe that he has no chance. Note that the folks saying such things are bonafide progressives and Bernie supporters. Here is one comment from "TS" on the Meanie's post.

When this is finally over I want to know what happened to the Bernie we saw at the beginning of the campaign? The Bernie who was gracious, who said he would stick to the issues and not go into personal attacks against his opponent, the Bernie who said defeating the Republican candidate was the most important thing to do in November, the Bernie who said that Hillary on her worst day was way better than any of the Republican candidates. I know he has pored his heart and soul into this campaign but he has lost his way. I find myself wondering if one or more of his advisors has gotten into his head, or if this stubborn willingness to compromise all of his previous goals was always there. We will probably never know. I miss the man I voted for, I welcome the woman I will vote for this November. Please Bernie be gracious soon.

The Meanie reviewed an earlier article from "Kos", the guy who founded progressive "Daily Kos" web site.

As you may recall, Kos was particularly brutal to Hillary Clinton in her race against Barack Obama in 2008.

Which makes his recent posts about Bernie Sanders and his insurgent campaign all the more fascinating. It seems that Kos has had quite enough of Sanders’ antics. A couple of weeks ago, Kos wrote 11 reasons why Bernie Sanders lost this thing fair and square. Here is the lead paragraph:

Bernie Sanders exceeded all primary season expectations and was en route to building something of a real movement. But rather than locking in those gains and settling in for a long-haul effort, he’s opted for a legacy-busting temper tantrum instead, heading out the (primary) door in a cloud of whining, conspiracy mongering, and blame casting. It’s a bizarre finale to what was undoubtedly an incredible run. So here are some observations, not because it matters—he’s lost—but because his claims of victimhood are absolute bullshit and need to be corrected.

Kos then dissects and analyzes the Sanders campaign in a sometimes brutal 11 point takedown. You really should read the whole post.

I did. I should have alerted you then, but at the time, I was unsettled by Kos' post. But the function of a "reality check" is to unsettle, to provoke, to alter course. Barring some meteoric event in the coming few primaries, I think it is time to move on, to accept the positive changes Bernie has forced on "the system," and to unite to win in November.

Here's the similar conclusion from the editors of The Nation.

Some Sanders backers may be uncomfortable with the notion of blending their insurgency into a campaign and a party they have challenged. But political revolutions are often long games, and the way to win the long game is not with bitterness and retribution. A Democratic Party that incorporates and embraces the ideals of the Sanders campaign and the people who supported it will be better positioned to defeat Donald Trump in November—and to govern the country with a resounding progressive mandate in the years to come.

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