The critics of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) just don’t get it. Even at this late date, over a year after both Sanders and Hillary Clinton began running for president, most pundits and journalists still seem to think that the Democratic primaries are just about choosing between two Democratic candidates. Ignoring the historic nature of Sanders’ grassroots campaign, his longstanding political independence, and the important issues he has brought to the forefront, the mainstream media still thinks we’re just picking a nominee.
Perhaps Clinton supporters would have a better understanding of us Berners if they realized that we are not here to simply pick a Democratic nominee. We are here to advocate for a new mode of governance, one that puts paramount emphasis on fairness, transparency, and integrity. Long ago, the Democratic primaries stopped being about Bernie Sanders versus Hillary Clinton. The race became a referendum on Sanders’ political system versus Clinton’s political system. To Berners, this is a modern Civil Rights movement, one for health care and education for all.
Far too many Clintonites, by contrast, still seem to view the Democratic primaries as simply a heated contest to pick which politician gets to have (D) after their name in the general election. They do not realize, or accept, that the situation has grown much larger and more dire: America needs fundamental change in the way its government and politics operates. I am not here because I want Bernie Sanders to be the nominee of the Democratic Party – I am here because I want Bernie Sanders to be president and implement as many of his bold ideas as possible.
I am not a Democrat. I am an independent, and always have been. I always will be. If the change our nation needs can be accomplished through the Democratic Party, by its nomination of Bernie Sanders for president, then that is terrific. But, mark my words, the Democratic Party is not the vital component in this equation. Bernie Sanders and his supporters have far less need for the Democratic Party than Clinton’s camp believes.
If the Democratic Party refuses to play fair, and it certainly has not done so thus far, then Bernie Sanders and his legions of supporters do not need it. There is the Green Party, and there is the possibility of an independent bid. A new political party, the Progressive Party, could be crafted quickly by Sanders’ many digital-savvy supporters. We Berners are here for change and progress, not for the Democratic Party.
The Democratic Party establishment and the mainstream media exhibit infuriating arrogance by mocking and dismissing the thousands of new voters Bernie Sanders has brought to the Party…but simultaneously insisting that such new voters will remain loyal Democrats even after the party establishment’s machinations have unjustly robbed Sanders of victory. Proclamations that most of Sanders’ supporters will vote “straight Democratic ticket” in November are naive and misguided. Most of Sanders’ supporters are here for Bernie Sanders himself, for his ideas and his movement, not for the Democratic Party.
Through its continued bias and unethical maneuverings, the Democratic Party is proving itself unworthy of ever adopting the new voters that Bernie Sanders has attracted to the political process.