Why I Am Still Bernie or Bust
Dear Democrats: Oh, So Close
Oh, Democrats, you were so close to getting my vote for president. Bernie Sanders had thrown his endorsement to Hillary Clinton and the Republicans had just concluded a convention featuring plagiarism, nationalism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, Scott “Chachi” Baio, Rudy “9/11” Giuliani, and a human-sized marshmallow circus peanut doing a Mussolini impersonation.
I was all ready to fire up the word processor and compose my disavowal of my earlier popular Bernie or Bust piece and find a way to convince people to vote for your pro-war, pro-regime change, pro-Wall Street, pro-trade deal, pro-fracking, pro-for-profit healthcare, pro-SuperPAC, pro-warrantless spying, pro-PATRIOT ACT, pro-welfare reform, pro-tough-on-crime, pro-Guantanamo, pro-Social Security means testing, pro-private prisons, pro-too-big-to-fail banks, pro-bankruptcy reform, pro-investment bank gambling, pro-death penalty, pro-border fence, pro-whistleblower jailing, pro-banning flag burning , pro-video game censoring, pro-child refugee refusing, pro-tax haven, pro-government transparency avoidance, pro-arming Saudi Arabia candidate who has been exposed on video several times as a liar.
And then, WikiLeaks.
No, it’s not that WikiLeaks revealed that the Democratic National Committee was in the tank for Hillary Clinton. Anyone with eyes could see that. Hillary’s 2008 campaign manager (until recently) was running the DNC. The schedule of 26 debates that helped Barack Obama in 2008 expose that Hillary Clinton “will say anything and change nothing” was pared down to just 6, scheduled on the weekend evenings of NFL playoff games, or in the case of pre-California primary, just canceled outright, to avoid giving Bernie Sanders in 2016 the same exposure. News media kept repeating pledged superdelegate totals to provide Hillary an illusion of inevitability. It wasn’t even that you were gaslighting us with months of denials that this was all going on. We knew the fix was in.
It was your reaction to getting caught that cost you my vote.
First it was the ouster of pro-payday lender, anti-medical marijuana, Republican-assisting Debbie Wasserman Schultz from the DNC Chair. Ding, dong, the witch is… suddenly appointed an honorary campaign chair with the Hillary Clinton campaign. Way to show us how you’ll respond to mismanagement and corruption, Hillary!
Then it was the selection of another Hillary loyalist in Donna Brazile to chair the DNC, who proceeded to offer us the following apology:
On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email. These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not ― and will not ― tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates. Individual staffers have also rightfully apologized for their comments, and the DNC is taking appropriate action to ensure it never happens again.
“Inexcusable remarks” and “disrespectful language”? As if WikiLeaks had uncovered a couple of colleagues sharing a racist joke by email, and not DNC officials actively plotting to use religion against Sanders, undermine the legitimacy of Sanders’ campaign, colluding with the media to obfuscate Hillary’s shady fundraising, and selling off political appointments in a Clinton Administration for campaign donations.
Then it was the wailing about how Julian Assange has it out for Hillary Clinton and the hacks were perpetrated by the eeevil Russians in an attempt to swing a US presidential election. This attempt to win our sympathy and sweep the whole thing under the rug was best summed up by a fellow on my Twitter feed who stated, “The Dem Party is like the dude who gets caught cheating and makes the conversation about why you violated his trust by checking his phone.”
For many of us, this was the final straw. We don’t like being lied to, patronized, and having our democratic integrity infected by the kind of collusion, voter suppression, and corruption we expect from Republicans.
Don’t Blame Nader, Look in a Mirror
At some point, you Democrats are going to say some variation, “What, do you want to pull another Ralph Nader?” referring to the progressive third-party candidate who supposedly cost Al Gore the 2000 election and gave us two terms of George W. Bush.
If you want to go there, first you’d better go back and look at the 2000 Florida Election Results. Bush was decided the winner of Florida, and thus the presidency through the Electoral College, when the Supreme Court halted recounts and Bush was ahead by 537 votes. Ralph Nader pulled over 97,000 votes in the Florida election, but only about 24,000 of those were registered Democrats.
Meanwhile, 308,000 registered Democrats in Florida voted for George W. Bush in 2000. For every one Democrat who selected Nader, there were a dozen who selected Bush. Among self-described liberals, there was one Nader vote for every five votes for Bush. There were also seven other “third parties” in the election, and all of them got more than 537 votes, including almost 3,000 votes that went to “socialist” and “workers” parties.
You Democrats want to blame Ralph Nader because otherwise, you’d have to blame the mirror. Don’t forget that Bill Clinton’s administration had accomplished numerous pro-corporate / anti-progressive goals, like promoting Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act, signing the Telecommunications Act that consolidated media and brought us FOX News and right-wing talk radio, creating the Crime Bill that doubled the marijuana arrests and exacerbated mass incarceration, threatening the free speech rights of doctors that recommended medical marijuana in California and then raiding their dispensaries, destroying the federal welfare system that’s increased homelessness and poverty, setting the stage for our economic meltdown by repealing Glass-Steagall, and ushering in NAFTA and the WTO that made Ross Perot’s “giant sucking sound” of American jobs flowing over the border, destroying the middle class in the Rust Belt states that Michael Moore thinks will cost Hillary the election.
And, of course, there was the smaller sucking sound coming from the Oval Office that forced Gore to run away from the successes of the Clinton legacy, leaving the most gifted natural politician of our generation on the bench during the campaign, and creating the eye-searing spectacle of Al laying a sloppy French kiss on his then-wife Tipper at the convention. Bill Clinton had more to do with electing George W. Bush than Ralph Nader ever did.
This Ain’t My First Rodeo
Many of my fellow Bernie-or-Busters are millennials, but that’s not the case for me. I still have my “Kerry Kit” from the last time I held my nose and got in line to support the establishment’s uninspiring multi-millionaire war candidate, because the prospect of a second Bush term would be the end of America as we know it.
Remember that election, where even with the demonstrable failures of George W. Bush given four years and a Republican Congress two years to fully bloom, you managed to do even worse against Dubya in 2004 than in 2000. You foisted upon us a bland flawed establishment candidate and laughed about how stupid Dubya was, only to see him get a popular vote majority.
After Bush’s two terms, the White House was up for grabs. Did you learn the lesson of Clinton/Gore betraying the base? Did you learn the lesson of Bush beating Kerry? Nope, you were all set to foist upon us the establishment’s uninspiring multi-millionaire war candidate in Hillary Clinton.
But there was a small problem in the plan – the internet. We had remembered this great Senator speak at the 2004 convention, wondering why we were backing John Kerry when we had inspiring politicians with progressive messages