So Bernie Sanders had a bad night on Tuesday. But don’t worry, he’s going to come roaring back and win the nomination! Oh, how I love to kid my fellow Bernie Sanders supporters…
As I’ve been saying for a month and a half, the Democratic nomination fight is over. I understand that others are resistant to admit defeat in this matter. But that doesn’t mean you have to let go of the Bern. In fact, it should glow in you more brightly now than ever.
Two years ago, I wrote, Advice for Young Carey Wedler. She was the young woman who had burned her Obama shirt because she was so disappointed in him as president. I was a lot nicer to her than I probably should have been. What I should have said is what we all need to remember now (and always): there is no “one weird trick” to fix your democracy.
Let’s think about Obama for a moment. Do you believe that the United States is better now than it would have been if John McCain had been elected in 2008? Or if Mitt Romney had been elected in 2012? If you don’t, you either haven’t been paying attention or you’re just being contrary. Obama has not been a disappointment to me because I never expected that much from him. What I did expect from him is what he delivered in spades: a better country than the Republican alternative would have delivered.
Continuing on, there were things that Obama did not get to do that would have been good. And those things were stopped because our more conservative Democratic representatives would not let him. So even Obama’s own presidency wasn’t as liberal as Obama himself wanted. The truth is that the Democratic Party is a very big tent and we on the left need to understand that we are not the party.
But if this primary has shown anything, it has shown that the left wing of the Democratic Party has awakened from its long slumber. It’s even possible that we have a clear majority. But Clinton had a huge advantage coming into this race. In 2008, the Democratic Party base really didn’t like having to choose between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. So for a large number of people, 2016 was a chance to have their cake and eat it too. I think a lot of Clinton supporters are very much on the left wing of the party.
The primary also stands as a clear threat to the likes of Rahm Emanuel. Actual liberals who care about actual liberal policy may be “fucking retarded,” but we have enough power to end the political careers of such New Democratic idiots who have done so much harm over the last two and half decades.
What Will Bernie Sanders Supporters Do?
The worst thing that Bernie Sanders supporters can do is go and sulk in the corner. The Democratic Party is not as liberal as it ought to be. It is still in the pockets of big donors. The election of Bernie Sanders might have been one step toward changing that. But that’s all it would have been: one step. And there are plenty of other steps. As I’ve repeated again and again recently, Sanders’ amazing campaign has been part of that. His campaign has made Clinton better, the Democratic Party better, and America better.
The question is, “What are you going to do now?” Bernie Sanders supporters have a choice. They can take over their local Democratic Party. They can push for more liberal nominees. They can be more liberal nominees. But Bernie Sanders only lost the nomination. The fight continues on. What are you going to do?