You Say You Want A Revolution, Bernie? Here Is A Way To Start One

Dear Bernie,

You said it again last night: “This campaign is not just about electing a president. It is about making a political revolution.” Okay. Allow me to take you seriously. Allow me to believe you mean that. Allow me to have high hopes that this election isn’t just about electing you president, but about starting that revolution you talk about all the time.

And please allow me to speak honestly. You said last night that your campaign was partly “about dealing with some unpleasant truths that exist in America today and having the guts to confront those truths.” Bernie, one of those unpleasant truths is that you will never be president. I’m sorry about that. You’re a good and decent man. But Hillary Clinton now has over 1000 delegates. You have 371. Estimates are you would have to win almost 60% of the vote in all the elections to come in order to catch up with her. We both know, or should know, that just isn’t going to happen. So, I ask you this: why prolong the inevitable? Why give a speech last night in which you don’t even bother to congratulate your opponent, who is now, after all these years of your independence, a fellow Democrat? I have to admit that there was something about that touch of gracelessness that bothered me.

Still, though, I want to tell you that I admire what you have done so far. It has been fairly impressive. You have raised a lot of issues that all of us need to think about. And most of the time you ooze with authenticity. But I have to tell you that it disturbs me that your constant line of attack against Mrs. Clinton—essentially questioning her honesty and integrity—is exactly the line of attack that Republicans will use against her later this year. In fact, they aren’t waiting. Right-wing super PACs have spent months and a lot of money attacking her honesty and integrity. In fact, they are actually using your own words against her, and I haven’t heard a peep about that from you. Is that because you stand to benefit from those attack ads? I hope not. I hope you’ve just been too busy planning your revolution to notice how your attacks blend so nicely with those of our real political opponents, including Dangerous Donald.

Which leads me to the real reason for my appeal to you. You said last night your campaign “is about transforming America.” You know how you can really help do that, Bernie? By suspending your campaign and taking all those millions of dollars that those earnest, well-meaning Americans have given you and put it to good use, like helping Democrats win competitive House and Senate races, so that a Democratic president can actually get done some of the things that you and I want done. Don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to become the country’s largest cheerleader for Hillary Clinton if you don’t want to. But you can become a cheerleader for Democrats at least taking back the Senate, so that a President Hillary Clinton can transform the Supreme Court for a generation. Isn’t that something you would be proud of? Wouldn’t that count as sufficiently revolutionary, especially since it has been 40 years since progressives have had control of the Court?

Today, as you know, the Court is considering the most important reproductive rights case in 20 years, a case out of right-wing Texas that will likely result in a 4-4 deadlock. Women need a Hillary Clinton and a Democratic Senate next year to get that fifth vote in some future precedent-setting case generated by anti-choice reactionaries in some other Republican-controlled state. I can’t think of too many things more transformative than establishing a choice-protecting majority, can you? Unless maybe it would be that same majority protecting the voting rights of minorities or overturning Citizens United. The point is, the revolution you speak of can begin with a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate actually having the power to stop Republicans around the country from turning back the clock on so many issues important to all of us who care about the rights of women, of minorities, and of ordinary citizens who, as you often say, live at the mercy of the millionaires and billionaires among us.

Think about it. You can have a tremendous effect in many strategic places around the country where Democrats facing purple electorates need the impressive enthusiasm of your young supporters. You could show up in targeted districts and states and campaign for the transformation you say you want. You can give much-needed money—money you got from folks who believe in your revolutionary spirit—to the Democratic National Committee so that candidates in those purple districts and states have the resources to defeat their wealthier opponents. In that way, Bernie, you could demonstrate that you mean it when you say this isn’t just about electing a president, but about starting a political revolution.

Finally, last night you said this: “Now, I know that Secretary Clinton and many of the establishment people think that I am looking and thinking too big. I don’t think so.” You are right about that, Bernie. You’re not looking and thinking too big, you are actually looking and thinking too small. You seem to be thinking only about your own candidacy, which faces the longest of odds and which, if you continue to the bitter end as you and your spokesman say you will, risks severely damaging the chances of Democrats keeping the White House, and will help Republicans keep control of the all-important Senate.

So, I am asking you to really think big, Bernie. Think about what good you could actually do for not only your new political home, the Democratic Party, but about the country that you have, up until now, so admirably served.

Sincerely,

The Erstwhile Conservative

 

22 Comments

  1. Guinness

     /  March 2, 2016

    Duane,
    He may not become President but he will be able to leverage the good will that he has gained – that’s political influence. Clinton will need him to pull the Democrat Party together, especially those democrats who hate Clinton a little less than Trump. The longer he continues in his primary campaign, the more leverage he will have. What do you think he will ask Clinton for?

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    • I agree that right now he has a lot of political influence. And my point is that he could have even more if he dropped out now, while his popularity is at its highest, for the good of the party. (Just look at what those egomaniacs in the other party are doing; Trump benefits from them all staying in, but they can’t help themselves.)

      As for what he would want, I’m not sure. I’m guessing he’s content where he is in the Senate. But I think I disagree with you about “the longer he continues his primary campaign, the more leverage he will have.” Much depends on how the thing plays out, of course, but I can’t think of anything better than Bernie saving the 80 million bucks he has on hand now (I think) and use that to begin the process of joining forces with Hillary to defeat Trump (or whoever) and begin the process of electing a Democratic Senate and at least trying to take back the House. The longer he goes, the more money he spends and the more Hillary Clinton has to spend to defend against him, thus taking resources away from what would otherwise be a long-term strategy to win not just the White House in November but at least the Senate. And the longer he goes, the longer he reinforces the Republican strategy of questioning her honesty and integrity, a real vulnerability for her because of her, and her husband’s, long records in politics. At least that’s how I see it.

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      • Guinness

         /  March 2, 2016

        I understand your point of view. I like Bernie a lot and I think he will wait 2 to 4 more weeks before he throws in the towel.

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      • Guinness

         /  March 2, 2016

        An additional benefit of Bernie staying in the race is – he gets the under 30’s voters engaged. However, just like all the republicans will kiss n make up and get behind Trump, Clinton and Sanders will come together. Unfortunately, the republicans will have to sell their souls to get behind Trump. That was easy for Christie – no soul to sell.

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        • John,

          The whole Christie thing has been disgusting, although not surprising if you have followed his career. He has always been an opportunist and it has often got him into trouble. His “hug” of Obama was part of that opportunism, and it came back to bite him big time, as will his endorsement of Trump.

          As for Bernie getting young folks engaged, he certainly is winning their support. No doubt about that. But there is some doubt as to whether he is bringing more of them than usual into the process. The ugly truth is that Democratic turnout so far as been lagging. And it seems to me, if Bernie is such a strong attraction to young people, that turnout would at least be on par with what it was in 2008. But it isn’t. It’s down. That is concerning to me and should be to all Democrats. The one thing we can count on, though, is that a Trump nomination, or a Cruz nomination, would get the juices flowing again and, hopefully, get more Democrats engaged in the general.

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          • Guinness

             /  March 3, 2016

            True, the numbers are down but that’s compared to the Obama effect. The numbers being down is a Democrat Party problem. Next months Bernie will be stumping for Clinton. People are still just getting to know Bernie. Bernie and Elizabeth Warren get the democrat youth excited.

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            • I do hope you’re right. And I am sure, once things settle down, and once President Obama is out on the stump, and once the GOP has a radical nominee (all of them are, by the way), Democratic interest will grow. It better. Or we’re in trouble.

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  2. So, Bernie has already lost and you still can’t let it go?

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    • King Beauregard

       /  March 2, 2016

      It’s fair to wonder whether Bernie would rather drag the Democratic Party down with him than acknowledge that he might not be the savior America is looking for.

      If he were serious about “political revolution” — an oxymoron if there ever was — he would hammer the following six words over and over to the point his supporters would mumble them in their sleep: “vote the Republicans out of office”. Those six words are the whole of any successful “political revolution” Bernie could bring about. There’s one obvious drawback to that “political revolution”, though: it doesn’t require Bernie in any way shape or form.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is Bernie who can’t let it go, even though it isn’t hard to understand the math involved. If this were an ordinary presidential election, I would agree with those who say he should stay in and fight for his ideas. But this isn’t an ordinary year. It is a strange time and there are unfamiliar dynamics involved in this election. I just don’t want to take any unnecessary risks of losing to any of the Republicans still left. It’s just that simple. And the longer he goes, the more tempted he will be (I see signs of it nearly every day) to make the Republican case against Hillary Clinton: that she is not trustworthy. I don’t want to see that. Too much at stake.

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      • cbdoodle

         /  March 7, 2016

        Yeah. She’s not. Trustworthy — or a peacemaker. The Repubs have tons of stuff they will use against her, given the chance. She has even more that she will use against them. fortunately, she is less loathsome than any of their candidates — and that is how she might win the Presidency (all she really cares about). We could do worse than Hillary (Trump, Rubio, Cruz, Katich) — but with Bernie we could do so much better. Especially down-ticket. You just don’t get it. You’ve already given up. You’re settling. The only thing anyone has on Bernie is his enlightened use of the term democratic socialism. The longer Bernie stays in and broadcasts his message, the more believers will be born. You are afraid of the wrong things, Duane.

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        • We shall see if you are right. Because it looks like Bernie is in it for the long game. So, if those new believers are to be born out there, he had better get busy, starting tonight.

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  3. Anonymous

     /  March 2, 2016

    Well written my Brotha! This is exactly what he should do! Get out now Bernie and use your resources and contacts to further the Democrat platform and work to elect Hillary and take back the house and senate. Please do it!

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  4. Steve

     /  March 2, 2016

    Remember Obama lost super Tuesday in 2008 and guess who is not president now !

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    • Steve,

      I wasn’t sure that it was true that Obama lost super Tuesday in 2008. In fact, when I looked it up to make sure, I found that Obama won 847 to Clinton’s 834 delegates. Obama won 13 contests and she won 10. But since it was so close, the election dragged on for a long time. That isn’t the case now. Hillary is way ahead in won delegates and pledged delegates and the delegate math necessary for a Bernie victory just doesn’t make sense. He would have to win around 60% of the vote in the contests to come. I just don’t see it, my friend. I want what he wants, but I don’t want to risk losing to any of the Republicans left. They would all set us back.

      Duane

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      • Steve

         /  March 3, 2016

        She is not way ahead without super delegates votes which will shift at the convention for Bernie. All the state’s coming up are the progressive blue state’s . Clinton won the red state’s on Tuesday that were lost in2012.Bernie Sanders will carry the blue and if Clinton supporters are true to their word Bernie will beat any republican by 10 to 15 points.

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        • Steve,

          I hate to tell you this, but the superdelegates will not shift to Bernie at the convention. The only possible way that would happen is if, God forbid, she gets in some real legal problems over the ridiculous email nonsense. Democrats put in the superdelegate concept precisely to keep someone like Bernie Sanders from winning the nomination. It was a result of the 1972 shellacking of a Bernie-like George McGovern.

          I also hate to tell you that our country isn’t quite ready for a full-throated democratic socialist. We will get there someday, especially as demographics alter the political landscape and make possible such things as a single-payer health system and free college education. But the demographics still favor a more center to center-left approach to governing. Why do you think Obama was elected twice? Despite claims to the contrary, he has pretty much governed as a center-left Democrat. If he had gone much further left, he may have lost to Mitt Romney, whose 47% comments behind closed doors killed his chances of winning. But until then, he did have a chance, let’s not forget that. And he still got 47% of the vote and Obama only got 51%. That’s how thin is the margin for victory for someone left of center, nevermind someone so far left as Bernie is.

          Finally, I hate to tell you that it is a fantasy to think “Bernie will beat any Republican by 10 to 15 points.” The country is way too evenly divided at this point for anything like that, either way. And as far as Clinton supporters being true to their word, it is not Clinton supporters you hear saying they won’t support Sanders. It is some Sanders supporters saying they will not support her. So, I think Sanders has some obligation to tell his supporters that if he should lose the nomination, they need to get behind her and stop all the we-hate-Hillary talk.

          Duane

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          • cbdoodle

             /  March 7, 2016

            If the Super Delegates don’t shift with the will of the people, we’re all screwed anyway. I am disturbed by the shenanigans of the Demo-elites like Wasserman-Shultz and the rest of the party planners who have demonstrated year after year, election after election they don’t know how to get out the vote or add to the Democratic Party membership. They’re losers. They do NOT inspire. They’re rotten communicators. Smug. Unimaginative. Unable to sell the powerful story of Democrats who time after time have saved this country’s lazy, bigoted ass. You and your buds are mad at Bernie because he won’t cave in to a very flawed “inevitable” candidate. I’m worried that you have no progressive vision for citizenry. I read some of your older posts. What happened to you?

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            • You raise some important points.

              1. As in 2008, if the will of the people go with Bernie in the end, the superdelegates will shift, just as they did for Obama. So far, there is no electoral evidence of such a shift.

              2. Wasserman-Shultz has not performed very well as the honcho, I agree. And I question some of her votes in Congress. But I don’t think we can hold her or other “Demo-elites” responsible for the fact that in off years, Democrats won’t get off their asses and go to the polls and vote. I do agree that some of the big-donor money that comes into the party ought to be spent on registering voters, particularly Latino and African-American voters in various places around the country, and to the extent it is not, that is the fault of “party planners.”

              3. I am not “mad at Bernie” for anything other than questioning the integrity of a woman who has, like her or not, been a Democrat for four decades or more, while he has done nothing, or not much to speak of, to actually help the party. Don’t you find it ironic that you criticize the party establishment for its failure, but support a man who wouldn’t even join the party and help it?

              4. My progressive vision, as my past writings have demonstrated, is very close to the vision of Bernie Sanders, as I have tirelessly pointed out. But I am not blinded by my desires for the country. I am not oblivious to the current political reality. I know there remains in this country fierce opposition to my vision and one has to be pragmatic in assessing the chances of furthering progress under such conditions.

              It’s sort of like this: I know that someday there will be a cure for the various forms of cancer from which countless people around the world are suffering. But I also know that fighting cancer is a very complicated matter, not an easy problem to solve. It takes much patience and much time, as well as financial investment. But there has been progress on that front. We can successfully treat some forms of cancer and help folks live longer with other forms. And that’s the way I see politics.

              I see reactionary thinking as a problem for our society. And even though we have made steady progress in combating such thinking, there is still a long way to go. It will still take some time, along with demographic shifts, to get to where we, as liberals or progressives, want to be. And I am not willing to risk the progress we have made for a pie-in-the-sky vision that cannot possibly be realized under current political conditions. It is just that simple for me. We can’t afford to lose, especially with the Supreme Court hanging in the balance.

              Duane

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              • cbdoodle

                 /  March 8, 2016

                Thanks for clarifying. This response seems more measured than some of your more frantic posts regarding the Bern. My humans don’t think Hillary’s integrity rating is especially high. That said, if she wins the nomination they will campaign for her and vote for her. She is competent (if a bit of a shape shifter) and smart — but not inspiring. I know. I know. It’s her turn.

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                • Okay, okay. But remember something: it was her “turn” in 2008 and guess what? I supported Obama and worked on his campaign here locally. So, it has nothing to do with her being next in line. It’s just the field this year was essentially between her and Bernie and Bernie appears to me to be unelectable, unless, of course, Donald Drumpf get the nomination. Then, who the hell knows.

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