From the very beginning of his campaign Senator Bernie Sanders intended to support Hillary Clinton, or whoever besides himself might be the Democrats’ nominee for president. I doubt he gave himself more than the tiniest chance, so the idea he would ignite a massive movement and go toe-to-toe with Hillary up to the convention would have been a pipe dream. He signaled his low expectations in the very first debate when he ridiculed concerns about her privatization abuse of government communications and emails with his “no one gives a damn” laugh line. Now the laugh is on him and his most fervent supporters. It’s a sad and recurring phenomena of the progressive grassroots that people did not see clearly at the start what Bernie was and is: a loyal Democrat committed to never being Nader-ized, hated for taking votes away from the Democratic nominee.
Polls show that the vast majority of the millions of Feel The Bern supporters are ready today to support Hillary or anyone else in a MoveOn-directed crusade against the Great Satan, Donald Trump. That leaves sitting on the dock the #BernieOrBust movement, about to see their former hero and leader become a lapdog and cheerleader for the Wall Street militarist he has fought, a candidate so vile and pro-establishment that she has won the support of the Koch Brothers, the Neocons, the mainstream media and many of the richest GOP families.
The Bernie or Busters want to see him run as an independent or throw in with the Greens and Jill Stein. That absolutely ain’t gonna happen, so the dynamic of General Washington morphing into Benedict Arnold will be an interesting one to observe as the Democrats slouch toward Philly. The Sanders campaign has been splintering for weeks, Buzzfeed reports, struggling with the transition from revolutionary leaders to cheerleaders for Hillary. This is a sad and delicate dance that Bernie is performing, and it will have an ugly ending. Think Jesus in the Garden before the crucifixion and resurrection to emerge as the Savior against Trump.
Imagine for a moment what might have been. In fact, don’t imagine, just read what I think is the most important analysis so far in this whole Feel The Bern phenomena. It makes clear that had Bernie the vision and gonads to step outside the Democratic Party, he could have done something that no one else achieved in his lifetime: jumpstart a legitimate and important mainstream party of the Left in the United States. Here is the article, read it yourself, from The Hill a month ago by Tim Farley and titled Bernie Sanders Is The Third Party Candidate You’ve Been Waiting For.
This is what Bernie might have achieved, something truly important and historic, were he not Bernie, a progressive totally committed to working within the Democratic Party. He is now trying to straddle the dock and the boat, staying in some way true to the movement he ignited, while sailing away with Hillary. It is simply too bad that so many Feel The Bern supporters were so naive at the beginning of this race that they even thought he would refuse to support Hillary.
If there is a pot of gold in this growing pile of poop, it is that maybe the next Bernie won’t be a bait-and-switch job for the Democrats, busted from the beginning. Or if she or he is, maybe the progressive and left followers will learn to see through it and demand better, empowering themselves, and not allowing their movement to be sold out to the candidate of the Kochs, Neocons and Bushes.