On Thursday morning, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders stood in front of reporters outside of the White House, just coming from a meeting with President Obama and pledged his support to Hillary Clinton, the party’s presumptive nominee.
Sander said in the coming weeks he looked forward to talking to Clinton and “”to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump and to create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent.”
Can Sanders work with Clinton and not betray the political revolution he said he was creating?
By moving his allegiance to the very political machine he spoke out against, Sanders is aligning with a pro-military interventionist who opposes the minimum wage hike the working class needs. He is aligning with a politician who has said she won’t take up the fight ensure every American not only has healthcare but healthcare they can actually afford to use.
Sanders is resigning himself to incremental change that will continue to leave behind the most vulnerable Americans for the next four to eight years and tell his revolutionary followers that they will simply have to wait it out.
Does Sanders have another option?
Green Party candidate Jill Stein has continuously reached out to Sanders to find a way to continue the revolution together. Stein’s campaign aligns almost perfectly with the message Sanders campaigned on. While she may not have the market force to win the election, and together they would still likely fall short, they can use their momentum, their revolutionary attitude to force a real change in American politics.
By standing by the side of Clinton, Sanders is selling out his supporters who came into the Democratic Party to fight for change, not to stick around to watch the status quo tell them their demands are not important and to shut up and fall in line.
Sanders seems to think he can make the most difference by endorsing Clinton and using the clout he built up during his momentous run for president to influence the future of the Democratic Party. There is little evidence this will happen, however, seeing as how Clinton herself told MSNBC in April that she is winning because of her policies, not those of Sanders.
“I’ve got 10.4 million votes. I have 2.7 million more folks, real people, showing up to cast their vote, to express their opinion than Senator Sanders. I have a bigger lead in pledged delegates than Senator Obama when I ran against him in 2008 ever had over me. I am winning. And I’m winning because of what I stand for and what I’ve done and what I stand for,” Clinton said.
She believes the people have spoken, and by people, she means those who supported her. She will give little attention to those who did not pledge their support because she believes they do not matter. Her three-million-vote lead tells her she needs to listen to those who voted her in, and there is little reason to believe she will consider doing otherwise.
Furthermore, when asked by MSNBC if she would concede conditions to Sanders for his endorsement she said that is now how it works.
“Let’s look at what happened in 2008, because that’s the closest example. Then-Senator Obama and I ran a really hard race. It was so much closer than the race right now between me and Senator Sanders. We had pretty much the same amount of popular votes. By some measures, I have slightly more popular votes. He has slightly more pledged delegates.
“We got to the end in June and I did not put down conditions. I didn’t say, ‘you know what, if Senator Obama does x, y and z, maybe I’ll support him. I said, ‘I am supporting Senator Obama, because no matter what our differences might be, they pale in comparison to the differences between us and the Republicans.’ That’s what I did.”
Clinton does not want to give Sanders, or his supporters a voice going forward. She has a policy platform and she believes because she won on that platform, that is what the people want.
Now, by signing on to support Clinton, and doing without laying down any sort of ground rules, something he even said he would do when he visited The Young Turks, he is rolling over and conceding his revolution to the Democratic Party machine.
His supporters should rightfully feel betrayed.