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The dissent within the Democratic Party that Sen. Bernie Sanders has sparked needs somewhere to go.
It should go in a direction that doesn’t back Clinton — and doesn’t help Trump.
That seems like you can’t do both those things, but you can if you parse it through and do some real work.
That energy should not go to backing Hillary Clinton: We’ve been down that road before. Gov. Howard Dean was the ostensible “anti war” candidate in 2004, he got folded into the campaign of John Kerry, who was “for the war before he was against it.” Dean promised a movement in “Democracy for America” and it’s not delivered much so far as I can tell. It’s difficult to believe that Sanders, after his likely endorsement of Clinton, will be in much of position to meaningfully change policy in a Clinton administration. Note that even Sanders’ position on many issues, especially foreign policy, were at best weak tea. At best, realistically speaking, millions of Sanders supporters falling behind Clinton now will result in a hollowness and crumbs.
That energy should not go toward helping Trump: Some of Sanders’ backers have been rallying around “Bernie or Bust.” While I appreciate the sentiment, it needs to be more strategic than that. Many progressives and other supporters of Sanders correctly note that giving up on the electoral system, or voting third party when someone has a preference for Clinton over Trump, can be self defeating. Of course, if someone has equal distaste for Trump and Clinton, then one can simply vote for any independent candidate of their choice, but the reality is that many will feel compelled to vote for Clinton because they so fear and loath Trump — just as many will feel drawn to voting for Trump because of hatred toward Clinton.
How to resolve this?
What I suggest at VotePact.org for Sanders supporters to do now: Reach out to Republicans in your life. Make a pact: You vote for an independent party candidate, like the Greens (Jill Stein is the likely nominee) or a socialist candidate and your Republican friend, relative, co-worker, whatever, votes for some candidate other than Trump. They can vote for the Libertarian (they just launched their Gary Johnson – William Weld ticket, both former Republican governors) or the Constitution party.
This way, you both get your political freedom. You’re free of voting for Clinton with all of her lies and hypocrisies, her wars and Wall Street ties. And your friend is free of any compulsion to vote for Trump with all of this misogyny and racism.
People throughout history have risked their lives and fortunes for a measure of political freedom. It should not be beyond the capacities of Sanders supporters and would-be Republicans to team up and both vote against the corruptions of Clinton and Trump.
The U.S. public is now trapped by two incredibly distasteful figures. They can continue to fuel the hatred between the two of them — and that mostly benefits Clinton and Trump, or they can have honest dialogues with people in their own life. Fueling the hatred virtually ensures perpetual servitude to the worst elements of each of the establishment political parties.
It should not be #BernieOrBust. It should be #BernieAndBoom. The dissent that he has begun to articulate on the national stage against a system rigged to benefit the one percent need not choose between two figures of that “one percent.”
Sanders say he wants a revolution. This is a revolution. It can take place in every living room, in every car pool, in every chat room, in every pool room. People who know and trust and love each other can come together and both reject the billionaire system, the perpetual wars and the racism.
Instead of people cancelling out each others votes — one voting for Clinton because they fear, Trump and another voting for Trump because they hate Clinton, they can revitalize U.S. democracy in an unprecedented way. They can use their bond, their love and their trust to overcome the hatred and fear that the corrupt duopoly uses to enslave them.
It will take work. It will take maturity. People will have to have an honest conversation with people they disagree with. People will have to not dismiss their friend’s views. People will have to hear others out. But at least they’ll be people authentically articulating their beliefs, not endless talking points by political hacks. It could be a revolution of the heart far beyond what Sanders has spoken of so far: #BernieAndBoom!