RoseAnn DeMoro: Sanders Campaign a Historic Source of Political Education

RoseAnn DeMoro is the executive director of National Nurses United. So, when Bernie Spoke Thursday Night he had two big calls to action, and much of this is what's being talked about at the People's Summit in terms of what comes next. One was the fight at the convention and two down ticket fights for Congress and such. Neither Bernie nor this conference has talked all that much, actually, about the presidential election. And so, before we get to the other two things, what about the presidential election in this sense: There's a lot of people talking about, we do not want to vote for Hillary under any conditions. I'm not saying everyone,but we're hearing a lot of that. And they feel, obviously, in this kind of box, and in some ways I think they would have liked that talked about a little bit more here. 

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form. 

ROSEANN DEMORO: Well, I think that the Clintons and the DNC and the press did themselves a massive disservice by all of the more corrupting politics that happened in the entire election, and then at the end the thing that really has been brushed under the rug that I thought was tremendously significant is how AP actually made history. They declared Clinton the nominee. She declared herself the presumptive nominee. California hadn't even voted. Five states, actually, hadn't voted, and basically it suppressed voting in those states and kind of robbed people of their voice. And so the resentment toward that is palpable. I mean, the night before last I spoke of the DNC and you could see the passion against the DNC. They feel like, you know, it was a rigged–The people here here feel like the election was so rigged, because they were participants in it, you know, from all of the states in the country, as far as I can tell here. I think we have representation from every state except Alaska here, and people feel that their voice was robbed, you know, either through voter suppression or through the irregularities with the caucuses or through being an independent and then in New York having six months, you had to register as a Democrat six months prior to when the election happened at which point, you know, Bernie was relatively unknown, initially. So, I think that if they would, even if Clinton ended up to be the nominee, if the process was actually honest and the press hadn't decided that they were in control of the election, AP–I mean, AP, It was, I thought it was a systemic shift in the press in terms of AP actually–I don't know if you've seen this, but I've actually got the push questions, the push-pull questions that AP called superdelegates trying to get them to say that they were for Clinton, literally. And then declared their own survey and declared her the nominee. I don't even know why they bothered having an election. Why didn't they just do a survey in the beginning of it? So, I think that's caused a tremendous amount of resentment.

JAY: So, in terms of what Sanders said Thursday night in his call to take this fight to the Democratic Party convention, there's, I'm picking up a significant number of people saying, you know, maybe you fight, but part of it is, maybe you walk out, that this isn't a reformable institution.

DEMORO: I think that's really a large discussion here. And I keep hearing it in different quarters and I keep hearing it among different groups. The depth of Wall Street in the Democratic Party now is obvious. And so, the thing about this campaign, it's been a campaign of political education like none other in history. And particularly with social media and the internet and everything, so people are communicating with each other at a much higher level. I don't think they have faith that they can transform the DNC. They have, you know, I don't know if Bernie does. I can't speak for Bernie. I do know that that is one of his agendas, to try to reform the DNC. It's steep. I mean, the economic and political forces that control the Democrats are essentially the same as who controls the Republican, and the difference is basically on social issues.

JAY: So, that's not a reformable thing [crosstalk] because it's a different of interests, not just ideological.

DEMORO: [interceding] It might not be, it might not be. It's not just ideological. It is, you know, maturely, can you overcome the control, the forces of control within the Democratic Party, and it's a real question. I don't know. So for us, the nurses' organization, we're going to go to Philadelphia. We're going to participate both inside and outside. In the protests outside, which are going to be mass, apparently, and then on the inside in terms of going through the process, trying to do a couple of rule changes: For example, getting rid of superdelegates, trying to open up the process in each state to independents. And then, you know, there'll be a platform, and the problem with the platform is, you know, we can, you know, we're hoping to appeal to even Clinton supporters that they actually might care about some issues. Because she, she essentially has waltzed in and declared herself a nominee on no issues other than I'm not Trump. That's her entire campaign. She's not Trump. That's not good enough for these people. And so what it tells me is that actually she's moving to the right. She's hoping to get the votes from the softer Republicans and that's who she's trying to appeal to. So, she's not going to, I doubt that she's going to capitulate to any of the demands that Bernie's going to make, and if she does the problem is that it's non-binding.

JAY: At the emphasis at the conference has been about sort of future, in some ways, almost more than this election. What about keeping this political revolution going, running for office at all kinds of levels? You have a session coming up, I think, on 2020–

DEMORO: –Right–

JAY: –So you're already starting to think that way. I guess–

DEMORO: –It's a double. It's vision, right?

JAY: Yeah. Right.

DEMORO: And then it's, [this and that] next presidential electoral cycle, but in between that there's significant races, you know, in the governor races, you know, a lot of different races, Senate races. But 2020 is vision. And [crosstalk] it actually was a way–

JAY: [interceding]–And you had two potential candidates sitting [crosstalk] on stage.

DEMORO: [interceding] We do. Aren't they amazing?

JAY: Yeah.

DEMORO: Those are– Tulsi Gabbard and Nina Turner are amazing, amazing women. I mean, they have depth, they have politics, they've got courage. They took on the Democratic Party establishment and, you know, the Clintons can be extremely retaliatory and the DNC can be quite harsh, and all the money behind them. So, they were bold. They were brave. I admire both of them so much. I just, I adore these women.

JAY: Are you imagining already a one term presidency?

DEMORO: I think that what's not going to change are, I think what's going to get worse between now and 2020 are people's lives. If, you know, the neoliberal agenda's in control there's not going to be jobs, and if there are they're not going to be good paying jobs. People are going to continue to suffer. The standard of living will go down. The disparity between the rich and the poor will increase. All of those things will be in play. The Clintons were the architects in part and participants, obviously, in the neoliberal agenda. That's where they are, ideologically. They're not changing that. They want more of that. Wall Street wants more of that. Goldman Sachs wants more of that. That's what they want. That's their candidate. Wall Street wants Hillary Clinton more than they want Donald Trump. That tells you all you need to know. So, the effect of that is that real people's lives will get worse, and so by the time we get to 2020, you know, by that time, you know, one of the problems we had with our campaign, the Sanders campaign, was lack of time. If we would have started early I think it would have made a major difference because what we found is that as soon as people got to know Bernie they loved him. I mean, they loved him personally. They believed in him. They knew he was fighting for their issues. He was authentic. His authenticity is what, you know, his authenticity and his message, obviously. He was taking on the political establishment. They wanted someone who was going to fight–in the same way, on the right, that Donald Trump appeals. You know, someone who cares about their lives. Donald Trump's case is obviously, Donald Trump doesn't care about their lives, he's just–This is a new toy for him. But Bernie genuinely does care. And people saw that and they, he came to iconic status very quickly in this campaign. He started out relatively unknown. When we were doing his campaign in Nevada–he wasn't doing his own campaign in Nevada yet. We went over, nurses went over and spent, you know, several weeks in Nevada and basically introducing Nevada–we had our Bernie bus–introducing Nevada to Bernie. And then when Bernie arrived on the scene, you know, they knew him a little bit. But still, that, you know, Nevada was the second, I think it was the second caucus, Iowa then Nevada. So, I mean, look. This guy–I mean, he's the closest thing they've had to goodness, right? Birds flying on his podium–

JAY: –One of the critiques of Sanders' campaign, and to some extent it's a question about the conference, is, why hasn't there been more about foreign policy here? Tulsi made one plenary speech–It was a panel. But the issue of what America does abroad, US foreign policy, various wars and so on, it wasn't front, you know, [crosstalk] up there in prominence, you know?

DEMORO: [interceding]–I know that there's been criticism. You know, I can't answer that because obviously he didn't confer with me on his platform or his policies, [inaud.]–

JAY: –How about here?

DEMORO: Here? I don't know. I mean, I think Tulsi Gabbard played that role in the campaign and I think she did it pretty effectively. She was bold. She quit the DNC over their positions and the corruption. So she, and then she became the spokesperson on foreign policy. She did a very effective job, and she spoke with such credibility. She's a veteran. She's a congresswoman. She was perfect. She's beautiful. I mean, she [audible laughter]. As good as it gets.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.