Don't Give Up On Bernie Just Yet
Bernie Sanders has officially endorsed Hillary Clinton and his long-suffering supporters are back in the grips of the vicious disillusionment and depression that plagued them in the years leading up to his historic and ground shattering presidential campaign. He's fought against establishment politics for over 40 years, and then all of a sudden he seems to have shifted on us. He's supporting a candidate that most of us can't stomach, seemingly betraying the progressive agenda that he's touted for his entire career. So what the fuck happened? Senility? Padding his bank account for an end-run into his twilight years? Or does he just see something at the top of the long road to change that the rest of us are missing?
There's a theory floating around the internet that Sanders had to endorse Clinton under some kind of strange and veiled DNC bylaw in order to keep his delegates and move into a contested convention. This seemed like a pretty reasonable assertion to me. Not only does the footage of the endorsement play like a hostage situation, but the DNC has become a very odd and twisted beast. The fact that they would allow one of the former campaign managers for a candidate who's currently running in their party to be the head of their organization, really suggests that anything is possible within the walls of this seedy group.
Part of the aforementioned theory is that FDR had to do the same thing. He was forced to endorse his opponent, ran a contested convention, and paddled everyone's asses red, white, and blue, winning the presidency! There are a couple of problems with that. FDR had the most delegates of any candidate in his party, just not enough to secure the nomination. There were no super delegates at that time, because the DNC hadn't quite gone full bat-shit yet. This means that FDR was the presumed nominee going in. There's also no evidence that he ever endorsed any of his opponents, and it probably wouldn't have gotten a lot of fanfare back then anyway. People were a little distracted with that whole depression thing and trying to keep from falling victim to the consumption. So, the idea that Sanders endorsed Clinton to keep his delegates is pretty much out.
The next theory seems to make a lot more sense on all fronts. Rumor's out that the Clinton campaign threatened to pull the few concessions they've made to Sanders' agenda. Clinton finally folded on a $15 an hour minimum wage, and has introduced a debt free plan for higher education, that is being reported as a bit convoluted and flaccid at this point, but it's something.
The idea that Bernie Sanders would fall on his sword to see his progressive policies get further than himself, seems a lot more likely than him just saying “Eh. Fuck it. Hillary, or whatever.” He's fought for the same values for north of four decades; being arrested for protesting during the Civil Rights Movement, being booed at the podium by his colleagues for his views on big banks and money in politics, and he was in the minority of his peers with a “No” vote for the horrendously misguided invasion of Iraq. That last fact is arguably the most important thing for everyone to keep in mind. While all across America people were losing their shit, screaming about “Them damn Jihaders!” over a basket of Freedom Fries, Sanders was one of the few politicians who saw the long term disaster that a mass invasion in Iraq would portend. That kind of foresight should buy him a little benefit of the doubt, in my opinion.
It's imperative that Sanders supporters keep their current sense of betrayal in check for now. Clinton and her ilk still need the Independent voters to win, and nobody courts Independents better than Sanders. He has never treated the working and middle classes like we're the servile proletariat, only to be acknowledged when pandering to us gets votes, and then shirking us for the rest of their term. This is what other candidates (definitely Clinton) practice year over year. But Hillary's critical need to land a massive number of Sanders base opens the door for her to be pulled more left, and Bernie knows that.
So, why didn't Bernie endorse Jill Stein? She's already left, and people are poised for real change. She seems like a perfect candidate for him to get behind. The answer is simple: There still isn't enough third party support for any realistic Green Party bid for The White House. Stein is wonderful, and could likely pull every single Sanders vote with his endorsement, but that's likely all she'd get. Clinton supporters were too shit-scared to throw their support behind a candidate who closed a 60 point deficit to become a serious contender for the Democratic nomination. I doubt they'd clamber over to the Green Party.
Then again, a lot of people aren't willing to submit the revolution to the care and custody of Clinton, and a third party upset could still happen. This has been an election cycle like no other, and any prediction at this point is an educated guess at the most.
At any rate, it's an unfortunate thing that the DNC was so successful in pushing that stomach-churning joke of a candidate into the nomination. We've once again been steamrolled by insider corruption, and are in a position to vote against someone rather than for anyone. But they did. That's the cold reality. We wanted Sanders, but instead we got a great, big cornholing.
But what Bernie's doing is smart, not corrupt or defeatist. Knowing that his shot at the presidency is all but gone, he's playing strategy with a group of nauseating swamp-donkeys, who don't understand anything beyond money and votes. He still loves his policies, and we do too. He just has to usher them in in a different way now. Voters proved, in this very election, that the binary voting process is alive and well. While Clinton's big selling point at the moment is that she's not Trump, her adopting Sanders platform like the soulless, vote-thirsty, chameleon that she is, may actually benefit the people.
So let's all calm down and give this tangled web of pseudo-democracy some serious thought before we commit to Hillary, Stein, or the nihilistic idea of a President Trump.