Why Bernie Will, Should and Must Stay in the Race
Surprisingly, this week's prize for Stupidest Political Comment in the Presidential Race doesn't go to Donnie Trump or Ted Cruz. Rather, the honor goes to the clueless cognoscenti of conventional political wisdom. These pundits and professional campaign operatives have made a unilateral decision that Bernie Sanders must now quit the race for the Democratic nomination. Why? Because, they say, he can't win.
Actually, he already has. Sanders' vivid populist vision, unabashed idealism and big ideas for restoring America to its own people have jerked the presidential debate out of the hands of status quo corporatists, revitalized the class consciousness and relevance of the Democratic Party, energized millions of young people to get involved, and proven to the Democratic establishment that they don't have to sell out to big corporate donors to raise the money they need to run for office.
Bernie has substantively—even profoundly—changed American politics for the better, which is why he's gaining more and more support and keeps winning delegates. From the start, he said, "This campaign is not about me"—it's a chance for voters who have been disregarded and discarded to forge a new political revolution that will continue to grow beyond this election and create a true people's government.
From coast to coast, millions of voters have been "Feeling the Bern." That's the campaign slogan grassroots supporters created to express their passion for the unconventional presidential run being made by Bernie Sanders.
Yes, passion—an outpouring of genuine excitement that is (as we say in Texas) "hotter than high school love." All this for a 74-year-old democratic socialist who is openly taking on the corporate plutocracy that's been knocking down the middle class and holding down the poor. Sanders is the oldest candidate in the race—yet politically, he's the youngest candidate, exuberantly putting forth an FDR-sized vision and agenda to lift up America's workaday majority. And guess what? It turns out that workaday Americans really value democracy over plutocracy, so that's where his passionate support comes from.
Need I mention that the moneyed powers—and the politicians hooked on their money—hate this affront to their cozy politics-as-usual/ business-as-usual system? Especially shocking to them is that Sanders' supporters have found their way around the usual Wall of Big Money that the establishment always throws us to thwart populist campaigns. This time, though, a counterforce of common folks has created a widely successful campaign fund of their own to support their Bernie rebellion. How successful? A whopping $182 million has been raised in millions of small donations that average $27 each.
That's a revolution, right there! Every revolution needs a slogan, so here's one that used to be on the marquee of a vintage, locally owned motel just down the street from where I live in Austin: "No additives, no preservatives, corporate-free since 1938." That perfectly sums up the unique people's campaign that Bernie-people have forged for themselves.
The keepers of the Established Order fear this grassroots uprising by no-name "outsiders," and they know that this year's Democratic nomination is still very much up for grabs, so they're stupidly trying to shove Sanders out before other states can vote. But Bernie and the mass movement he's fostering aren't about to quit—they'll organize in every primary still to come, be a major force at the Democratic convention, and keep pushing their ideals and policies in the general election and beyond.
As Sanders puts it: "I run not to oppose any man or woman, but to propose new and far-reaching policies to deal with the crisis of our times... It may be too late to stop the billionaire class from trying to buy the presidency and Congress... But we owe it to our children and grandchildren to try... We need to face up to the reality of where we are as a nation, and we need a mass movement of people to fight for change."
That's what real politics should be—not merely a vacuous campaign to elect a personality, but a momentous democratic movement fighting for the common good.