At this point, Bernie has several options. One: He could hang in there, as it currently appears, and press for changes in Democratic Party rules and in the party platform at the convention in Philadelphia. The latter is a futile exercise since convention platforms have little or no effect on policy decisions in Congress.
Two: Assuming Bernie is intent on the presidency (I hope he is) and cannot persuade a sufficient number of super delegates to flip and secure the Democratic nomination (a fair assumption), he should join Jill Stein of the Green Party, who has already reached out to Bernie. There is a real possibility that as the Green Party standard bearer, a Sanders/Stein Green Party ticket could very well win the presidency in view of Trumps self-destruct tendency and Clinton’s criminality. As an added benefit it would break up the two party monopoly. I sincerely hope Bernie pursues this option rather than getting his supporters all worked up over the Democratic platform. Fighting for planks on the national Democratic platform is a placebo —- comfort therapy. Members of Congress don’t read platforms, much less, follow them. Remember: ” all politics is local” not national.
Adding to the mix this fall is the candidacy of Gary Johnson, former two-term governor of New Mexico, on the Libertarian ticket with his vice presidential candidate, former Massachusetts governor William Weld. If it weren’t for their radical agenda, a ticket of two Republicans with executive experience from two Democratic states might have some appeal to a disillusioned electorate.
The key to the success of these third-party candidates is their inclusion in the Presidential debates. From the getgo the Sanders/Stein ticket would poll more than the 15% threshold for their inclusion. The debates would permit Sanders to be more hard-hitting rather repeat his failures in the primaries. Stein’s toughness and detailed knowledge of the issues would bring a breath of fresh air to the contest. Trump and Clinton will drown in their negatives.
Three: Bernie could succumb to the pressures from party elites, President Obama (who has been supporting Hillary all along), and mainstream media to endorse Hillary and remain supportive of her candidacy through the general election. This might give Bernie hope that if, before Election Day, she is struck down by her criminal negligence over her emails and the Clinton foundation, that he would be the obvious choice to replace her, having been the runner-up in the primaries. The only problem with this scenario is that the Obama/Clinton Democratic Party is adamantly opposed to Bernie and his agenda. Remember who really controls the Democratic Party —- the 1%. In the event of a Clinton departure from the race after the convention and before the November election date (a distinct possibility) back-room party leaders and Obama are discussing plans to push Joe Biden or John Kerry to replace Hillary not Sanders.
Likely as not, the House will remain Republican and possibly the Senate, since conservative funders are pouring money into down-ballot candidates to insulate themselves from a Trump or Clinton presidential administration. If Hillary is elected president, her administration will spend its initial political capital fighting off impeachment. A couple of House Republicans committee staffs are already investigating both her emails and the Clinton Foundation money laundering activities, and will now be able to capitalize on the opening FBI Director James Comey has laid bare.
If Bernie succumbs to the pressure and votes for or worse endorses Hillary, he will be ruined politically with his young supporters and come off as just another political opportunist more interested in his Senate career. Regardless of his decision, a Clinton administration and the Democratic Party it controls will marginalize Bernie after the election. However, if Bernie decides to choose a more independent course by going Green he can easily make the case that he was cheated out of the nomination by the Democratic Clinton machine thereby voiding any statement he may have made about supporting the Democratic nominee.
Four: Even if Bernie goes Green and wins the Presidency he will need this option more than ever if he hopes to see any part of his agenda enacted into law. However, this option is complicated by the fact that Bernie and his immediate advisors don’t have a viable plan to enact his agenda into law —- other than suggesting that a protest movement of his supporters would force the Congress to enact his agenda. In light of the history of protest movements, no one really accepts the plausibility of that suggestion other than the politically naÃ¯ve.
Some would point out the success of the civil rights movement and the fight for women’s suffrage. Yes, but it took 80 years to get to a civil war decision and another 100 years of Jim-Crowism, and we are still cursed with racism. Yes, women’s suffrage finally succeeded after more than 150 years, but only because more than 20 states gave women the right to vote as a result of state initiative and referendum elections. This forced President Wilson’s wife and the Congress to act in 1920. Unfortunately, even the women’s Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) movement failed to enact a constitutional amendment with a 52% demographic advantage.
Remember the nuclear freeze movement in the early 1980s? It was one of the largest popular ground swells in the nation’s history, generating more votes by state and local elected bodies and by the people directly than had ever been seen. The House of Representatives passed the freeze resolution unanimously. When President Ronald Reagan ignored the resolution, the movement dissipated, ultimately creating a generation of cynics. The freeze resolution was just an expression of the People’s will. It lacked the force of law, which is the generic flaw of most movements. For the People’s will to prevail, it must be enacted as law —- not mere protests or party platforms.
Recent movements like Move On and Howard Dean’s Democracy for America have dissipated themselves over time and act as little more than lobbying efforts for good causes that never seem to get enacted into law. The Occupy Wall Street Movement, after polite tolerance by government, was snuffed out like a candle by the government’s police power. Political, social and economic protest movements demonstrate one thing: not that democracy is broken, but that it doesn’t exist.
Bernie Sanders has suggested a plethora of meaningful social, economic and political justice issues, energizing the righteous dreams of his youthful supporters for change. What he has not explained is how these issues would be enacted into law. It is not sufficient to say the People’s protest will make the Congress enact laws. That is unrealistic in view of a conservative majority —- Republican and Democratic —- in Congress “
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