FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Don’t Laugh at the GOP if You’re a Sanders Supporter

The Republican debate on Thursday, March 3, was an instructive moment in American politics. Viewers watched as the GOP establishment attacked the front runner Donald Trump in a coordinated effort and ended with every candidate on the stage re-pledging to support the billionaire if and when he becomes the nominee.

Before anyone on the left starts making hay, though: Bernie Sanders already did the exact same thing for Hillary Clinton back in late 2014. Sanders swore, before his campaign even began, that he would support the likely Clinton general election candidacy.

The American political duopoly does not allow for principled independence.

For the GOP, forcing Republican candidates for the presidential nomination must have seemed like a stroke of genius back in August. At that time, a Trump nomination didn’t seem realistic. Party elders thought they could end a Trump independent bid for the presidency by forcing a public pledge during a prime-time debate.

Things didn’t work out the way the GOP establishment wanted them to. Trump not only refused to pledge allegiance to party over self in August (he later recanted), he actually gained support in the aftermath of that public stand. It’s support that has continued, despite the efforts of party brass and his two closest challengers Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

Now, all three candidates sharing the limited real estate on the Republican stage- Cruz, Rubio, and John Kasich-have pledged once again that they will support Trump if and when he is the GOP nominee.

Many liberals have pointed out the hypocrisy in spending two hours tearing down an admittedly repulsive politician, only to end those hours by pledging to support him in the event of his nomination. And they are right- this is the lowest form of hypocrisy and craven partisan pandering.

A vote for Rubio, Cruz, or Kasich is a vote for Trump.

Unfortunately, if a begrudging pledge by Trump’s fellow Republicans to support him in the general election renders their criticism of him toothless, then what does that say about a pledge by an Independent Senator from Vermont whose candidacy is ostensibly based on striking terror in the hearts of the Democratic establishment?

Or, to put it a different way: If Sanders wants to “highlight differences between himself and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton” on issues relating to party orthodoxy re free trade and the corporatocracy, that’s fine as long as he doesn’t pretend those differences really mean anything. Because they don’t if the nominal socialist plans to endorse Clinton anyway, with no conditions- which is, again, exactly what he promised to do.

It puts the lie to Sanders’ declaration that he and Clinton are “trying to treat the American people with intelligence.” Sanders is selling his supporters out to a different degree than other sheepdog Democrat candidates before him by promising to support the eventual Democratic nominee and not to run third party; his nominal independence could have left the possibility open but he closed the door on it before he even announced his candidacy.

A vote for Sanders is a vote for Clinton.

This leaves Sanders supporters with two viable ideological options: Either their candidate runs third party, in which case he is at least as much a liar as Clinton; or he endorses her and is a toothless Democratic Party shill whose candidacy only exists to shepherd unenthusiastic progressives to the party and Clinton.

These are similar to the two options that face the Republican electorate: Either their candidates reject the buffoonery and flirtation with white nationalism that the Trump campaign has begun to represent; or they agree to endorse him in the event he wins the nomination, rendering all their complaints meaningless.

The latter is the realistic choice for each party. And that will only lead to more disillusionment and anger, because even in the face of the public’s utter rejection of establishment politics and partisan power plays, the duopolistic political machine continues onward into the future, crushing hope and idealism under the weight of its well funded heels. Sanders or Rubio, Clinton or Trump- it makes no difference in the end.

As long as the American electoral system is allowed to run as a duopoly, rhetoric and movements within the two parties will be empty and fail to create any alternative to the political system. The empty promise of the Sanders candidacy and the craven refusal to buck party bosses by the non-Trump GOP candidates makes this crystal clear.

The partisan adherence to party loyalty is everything that is wrong with modern American politics in our modern era.

More articles by:

Eoin Higgins has a master’s degree in history from Fordham University. He lives in New York.

December 11, 2018
Eric Draitser
AFRICOM: A Neocolonial Occupation Force?
Sheldon Richman
War Over Ukraine?
Louis Proyect
Why World War II, Not the New Deal, Ended the Great Depression
Howard Lisnoff
Police Violence and Mass Policing in the U.S.
Mark Ashwill
A “Patriotic” Education Study Abroad Program in Viet Nam: God Bless America, Right or Wrong!
Laura Flanders
HUD Official to Move into Public Housing?
Nino Pagliccia
Resistance is Not Terrorism
Matthew Johnson
See No Evil, See No Good: The Truth Is Not Black and White
Maria Paez Victor
How Reuters Slandered Venezuela’s Social Benefits Card
December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail