Let’s cut through a lot of the usual debris that’s circulating and get to the bottom lines we need right now as Sanders supporters. Here is an end-of-April primer of sorts, a rundown/recap/consolidation of key facts, ideas, and reminders to keep us oriented toward our goals and tune out the noise. It’s meant to be part pep talk, part resource center.
So. Many of us had a joyful, inspiring few weeks leading up to New York, with so much positive momentum and hope—and then a rough couple of weeks after that. Rough not even so much from the losses, but from the frustration of knowing what may well underlie them—the machinations we can only guess at, as well as the ones that are plain as day.
Sanders was doing amazingly well leading up into the NY primary. So great (eight of nine previous contests, several 70-80% landslides in diverse states, the upset in WI, head-to-head in national polls, polls showing that the more people hear about and get to know him there more they like him; the only candidate with positive favorability ratings; incredible 27,000-plus-person rallies all over New York; more endorsements and superdelegates coming over; the Vatican invite; strong fundraising month in March, terrific interviews, and more). Even some mainstream media was forced to grudgingly take notice.
Because of all that, Clinton HAD to win. It is important to note this, and as usual, few in the mainstream media (MSM) really pointed that out. They made it like it was crucial for both. But truth is, at that point in the Sanders surge, it was do or die for her. A win would have been super awesome for him, certainly decisive, but was not as critical given where he was.
And given the independents who could not vote—27% of registered voters in NY—when independents usually come out for him at about 70%—and the fact that it was Clinton’s (latest) “adopted” home, it was not so unusual. The widespread, multi-front election mishegos now under investigation was perhaps less usual. Though again, given such towering stakes for an obscenely-moneyed and never-overwhelmingly-scrupulous machine that has been planning this for eight years and was fuming about a disrupted coronation…not surprising.
Okay, maybe the extent of it was a little stunning.
But although none of us who wish for Sanders’ victory were thrilled about New York, most of us brushed ourselves off the next day and got to work on doing our very best to make the next round what we could. We did this in spite of another heaping of election “challenges” beforehand and day-of—and a media that had turned up the volume on “why doesn’t he get out?”
(Why? Um, because even after New York the delegate spread was 237 and he had won 8 of ten contests—and the other two were under investigation. AND because he’s going for the nomination—haven’t you heard? Are you dull? That’s why. And for reals, would you be haranguing Hilary Clinton if she were just 194 or 237 or even 333 delegates behind? Didn’t think so.)
Tuesday night came, and it too was no shocker. We won Rhode Island on Tuesday because independents could vote. When there’s an open primary, when independents can vote, when EVERYONE can vote, it’s a Bernie Sanders victory. Often by a landslide. End of story.
At least that’s been true since March (by which time he’d had a chance to get some name recognition through his and our hard work on the ground).
When we have closed primaries, too many people can’t vote, and those who do seem report a whole lot of strange goings-on. Whether that’s because open primaries and caucuses are, well, open—easier to verify, harder to cheat—or because they bring out the most passionate votes, or because independents—who Sanders always wins handily—can vote? or all of the above.
But, here is another way to look at it: it now appears that Hillary Clinton apparently cannot win a competition where independents can freely vote. Just look at the results of the last 15 contests. This has obvious implications.
So, here’s what we know now about the rest of this race, and it’s not bad news. So buck up!
Sanders did pick up some delegates Tuesday night. Independents can vote in most of the states left. He can still rack up more delegates, and he could win California. He could actually win it by quite a lot. So, he could actually, still technically win. Here’s Sanders himself laying it out decisively after Tuesday night—if you didn’t see it, let it buoy you! https://youtu.be/MgPZs7_XH0w
Yes,, the path is very narrow, but not impossible. And about that I say
(a) do NOT let any MSM with its own interests at heart tell you anything other, and
(b) smart, successful, critically thinking people don’t conflate the word “difficult” with “impossible.”
And, related to (b) is (c) —and this one really bugs me—since when did “hard” mean that we should give up? Is that the American spirit? Is qualifying for and winning the Olympics hard? Was it hard to establish some semblance of Civil Rights? (And yes, it’s something we’re still fighting for). Was it hard for Ghandi and Mandela? Was it hard for Diana Nyad to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage at the age of 64? Was it hard for the founding fathers to establish the United States of America? We could go on for pages, but really—are we supposed to lie down and give up because it’s hard? Please.
Here’s the next thing. Even if he does not win the pledged delegate majority, Clinton is highly unlikely to get enough delegates either, so it could well be a contested convention. Even if he does not come out ahead, if he is very close—and that is even more possible—we have not only a chance to get our platform hammered home, but a contested convention. And that is going to be very interesting indeed.
That path is now emerging more clearly, in spite of MSM predictably failing to present any sort of credible math. You are seriously going to want to read this piece from someone who can and does nail the math—bookmark it now, open it in a new tab to read next, or go read it and then come back to get more hope and resources below. It’s okay. I’ll wait. https://johnlaurits.com/2016/04/28/this-is-what-will-happen-at-the-democratic-convention/
This is another reason “why don’t you get out?” is an increasingly hollow and tiresome, along the lines of “yeah, you wish.” This scenario has real merit, no matter how much the MSM and Clinton camps—frantically trying to muzzle and quash us ( having failed to do so for six months now, despite trying every tactic in the book)—tell us it is poppycock. (But then, they pretty much think almost everything Sanders says and does is poppycock, yes? Except, you know, when they take credit for his ideas.)
Another cogent as well as heartfelt explication of a Plan B version comes complete with a suggested people-powered component in which all voters who switched to Dem in order to vote for Sanders immediately switch back afterward, to make a peaceful but powerful statement, is here.
THIS is why it’s VITAL that we win every delegate we can, til the end. This is why, even if you feel sad or angry at the lengths to which Clinton an the DNC and the media seem to be going to thwart Sanders, even if you feel livid about the election circus, we do not stop. We do not stop calling, canvassing, sharing, speaking. Plan A is still to win, to follow that narrow yet existent path to obtaining the most pledged delegates. But we’re going all the way to the convention for a good reason, and it is not just to make a point.
If it comes to that, we would then get see what the superdelegates do, which will sharply illuminate the truth of where the “democratic” party is going. As Lee Fang of the Intercept says, “If the nomination process is close, superdelegates may effectively pick the party’s presidential nominee, potentially overriding the will of voters.”
Although many superdelegates flatly state that they are not beholden to the will of the voters—Howard Dean recently replying to a Tweet wrote, “Super delegates don’t ‘represent people.’ I’m not elected by anyone. I’ll do what I think is right for the country.”—that’s still going to be a s**tstorm, many think, in this year of The Revolution. If hypothetically Sanders gained even a small pledged delegate lead, and superdelegates were to actually “keep their promise” to Clinton—knowing that she is the far bigger danger in terms of loss to a Republican, and that she does not have the mandate of the people but only that of an elite minority—its going to be quite hypocritical.
(A lot of us think the whole concept of a cadre of insiders whose sole purpose is to keep “outsiders”—such as Jimmy Carter—out and allow insiders to decide elections instead of the voters is by nature insanely undemocratic.) If that happens, the Democratic party will be fully revealed for the sham that it is. Also, the revolt just might taken down the stadium.
We have to remember that not only did Obama lose New York by more than Sanders did and have less delegates going into that race than Sanders did, but his win involved a late-game superdelegate switch for him as well. And preferable though he was at the time (I certainly campaigned for him), in my view he didn’t have half as strong or well-defined a platform as Sanders, nor the momentum and power of an bona fide revolution behind him. He was well-liked by many of us, but not this passionately loved.
And Clinton didn’t have a FBI investigation pending then either, or as much of a contrast regarding funding sources vis a vis the issues this campaign has boldly outlined re campaign finance. The contrast just wasn’t as marked, period.
I don’t focus on the FBI much right now, because we can’t count on it and it gives too much fodder to the off-base, deluded, ridiculous yet vexingly popular Clintonite notion that any negativity toward Clinton is a “Republican witch hunt” (when the truth is she’s reeled out plenty of rope to hang herself on without getting Rs involved). True, she has outsmarted her way through so many of the dramas she has found herself embroiled in—drama that her supporters constantly paint as personal Republic swiftboating, but that a modicum of research reveals is not the case at all.
But. It is also possible maybe the FBI will finish whatever the heck they are doing before July and put this thing to bed already—so we can get ON with it. On with the candidate who can beat Trump soundly; who can appeal to and rally momentum across all party lines and especially the youth who will be our future with his common sense and honesty; and who gladly, compassionately, fiercely and wisely represents the 99% instead of the supercilious furtive insider elite 1%.
But back to the more likely and central potential: a contested convention. That is how we got FDR in 1932—a president with many of the same type of ideas and policies Sanders puts forth, a Socialist Democrat who was as valuable to America at that time—his legacy living on in some of our most valued programs today—as many of us believe Sanders would be today.
Some people say Clinton and the DNC simply will not let what happened in 1932 happen to her. They have bought too many superdelegates, have too much money and power and want it just too damn badly. All of that may be true. And it’s taken Clinton pretty far—sort of. On the one hand, she is still the frontrunner. On the other hand, another way to look at it is that having spent $150 million, held numerous 353,000-a-plate dinners and donor events where she has to white-noise-out her speech, and had every other advantage from name recognition to the DNC’s multi-front premeditation… and she STILL had her 55-point lead erased.
But more to the point, however far it has gotten her, does that money and power and ruthless drive for victory not have a limit? Doesn’t there come a point in history, in every revolution, every big change where even that is no longer enough? Where finally, the people rise up in such a surge of size and volume that it simply can’t be kept down any more? Is that not the stuff of history that now make it possible for blacks to vote, for women to vote, for blacks to share buses and bathrooms with whites, for gay people to marry?
As for the ongoing inconsistencies, with elections—voters thrown off the rolls, affiliations changed mysteriously, closed and changed polling places reduce polling hours, ballot shortages and of course, the legal but certainly challengeable “27% of the voters can’t vote in this state”—I say this:
All of this is being acknowledged by many, but mostly not those who can stop it, at least probably not in time to change state outcomes. And it probably wont stop, at least until enough of us are en masse in the streets, or unless Sanders becomes president in spite of. It’s not surprising. The system is a mess, an election circus with confusing, inconsistent, and arcane state-by-state rules, easily-compromised voting machines, and strange bedfellows in key positions.
We have to realize, there is SO much money and power at stake for the insider status quo—we have to grasp just how far they will go to protect their billions and their primacy. If we’ve been idealistic, it’s that it was idealistic to ever think they wouldn’t go to every length necessary, with all their money and influence. Did we expect a fair fight? They were NEVER going to let Bernie Sanders just *walk into* what was supposed to be a coronation in the planning for EIGHT YEARS. They weren’t going to let an outsider like Sanders just outright fairly WIN the title for which they groomed their ideal candidate (not ours, theirs). Not even on the most tremendous merits, not even if it’s the will of the people. Remember, it’s been brazenly stated that that’s what superdelegates are there for. To override the will of the people and let insiders keep outsiders out.
But we do still have so much power, and we need to keep that power growing and showing. Of course it was always going to be a brutal fight. Truth and justice take on greed and corruption, outsider vs. insider. The impetus of the 1% to silence, mislead and tranquilize the 99% is the stuff of history going way back, as people like Howard Zinn have written about so eloquently. But every great change that ever happened happened when people rose up against oppressive, self-interested establishments. Masses of people. Like us, right now.
So let’s do this. Eyes straight ahead. Plan A, the very narrow path to the nom (yes, 75% of CA would be crazy, but wasn’t overthrowing apartheid crazy too? Heck, wasn’t a black president crazy not 50 years ago? Damn right we can dream—dreaming has had a productive place on this world. MLK had a dream.) Meanwhile, we can be realists too. Plan B—a close race, a contested convention. (I feel you, H.A. Goodman, but let’s let the Clinton criminal investigation be not a plan, just a potential cherry on top. Better that we earn this on the merits of Sanders’ strong finish.)
Positive change is coming and will come from all this energy and love and awareness bursting through the hard ground of corruption and ignorance and apathy. While at times it may seem like it’s getting harder—as the opposition gets even stronger, because we are getting stronger and they know it!—it’s also getting clearer all the time. We are rising up. We may not even have seen yet just how powerful we are. Dismissal, mockery, ignorance, apathy—yes it is discouraging. Oppression is dispiriting. Even the suspicion of fraud is demoralizing. But this movement is beautiful.
And let’s not underestimate this either: Senator Sanders is an extraordinary role model as he leads this movement—not only for infusing rare honesty and authenticity into politics, for common sense, for consistency, for humility, for deep and moral care—he is also a model for all of us in our everyday lives to keep going when it’s important, when it’s not just about you. He is a model for resilience, for how to comport yourself when thing are hard and it looks tough, when there are naysayers. How you can calmly, resolutely—albeit passionately—keep going, eyes straight ahead, unwavering toward the goal, undistracted and unruffled, seeing the big picture even as you respond in the moment. Buffered and buoyed by purpose.
Isn’t that how everyone who achieves something great really does it? Whether in sports, in business, in politics, in fighting an illness, in art, in any high and worthy pursuit? Every day this man gives us that gift too, a bonus gift that should not be overlooked. Not only a platform and movement that is challenging and exposing everything that needs right now to be challenged and exposed—but a personal embodiment of what it is to be steady, durable, irrepressible. What it takes to go big—and to truly serve. It inspires me not only to keep going in this movement, but literally in everything else that I do.
That this 74-year-old man gets up every day seven days a week and fights for all of us, 15 hours a day, is breathtaking. He debates his challenger, leads rallies of nearly 30,000 people and flies to Rome and back in 24 hours, while even the younger and plenty energetic among us get tired just watching the debate. If he can do it, we can stick with him till the end.
We can do it because this is a once-in-a-lifetime candidate and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually turn our country around and begin to fulfill its promise and potential. Many of us know it, know we are looking at—and part of—something extraordinary. So not only are we not going to “get out”—we’re not eve going to get DOWN. Right?
So, if you feel battle-weary, shore yourself up. Nourish yourself. Get some rest and fuel. This was always a marathon, maybe even an ultra. Pace yourself. Renew yourself. Find a friend who can hold you while you shake off the shakes. Have an energy bar, whatever form that takes for you. Get out into nature—the nature you are probably fervently hoping to protect and preserve by supporting Sanders.
IF YOU NEED A LIFT, perhaps try this gorgeous video, a shimmering reminder of why we will never give up. Remind yourself that the alternative will never, can never resonate in this way, is not the same—not in this core way, and not in a thousand other ways. Remind yourself of what you value and cherish.
“I am not a theologian or an expert on the Bible or a Catholic…. I am far, far from a perfect human being, but I am motivated by a vision which exists in all of the great religions – Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and others – and which is so beautifully and clearly stated in Matthew 7:12. ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them to do to you.’ The Golden Rule. Do to others what you would have them do to you.” “And in a world which worships not love of brothers and sister, not love of the poor and the sick, but worships the acquisition of money…I do not believe that is the country we should be living in.”
And this one:
“We are the people. We have the power. If we stand together, we can win.”
Refresh yourself and your faith, and keep on going. #StillSanders
Also help yourself to this handpicked collections of some of the last few days’ and weeks’ most encouraging and perspective-offering pieces. They uplifted me, hope they will you too.
Seriously essential math. The only place you’ll see it done right, probably. You need this.
It’s linked in the above piece too, but I don’t want you to miss it.
Why Bernie should keep going. Well argued.
Only voter suppression can stop Bernie Sanders.
H.A. Goodman makes his case again.
An Australian NAILS it about what he rest of the world gets that too many Americans don’t. (But some of us do.)
One of many items covering how Bernie beats Trump better.
H.A. Goodman beating his drum again quite well.
If you’re sick of hearing that you’re electing Trump if you don’t vote Clinton…
The speeches. Let’s not forget them.
The Daily News actually covers “Breaking Barriers,” the Clinton-funded troll brigade.
Awesome education disguised as levity/sarcasm, Jon Stewart style, re New York.
There is a moderate Republican in the race, but she’s running as a Democrat.
The problem with Hillary Clinton is I don’t vote Republican.
Five reasons Bernie’s best on climate.
A slightly older favorite from Naomi Klein on the candidates and climate that still stands strong.
Just Bernie being funny.
Sen. Sanders on Tuesday issued the following statement:
“I congratulate Secretary Clinton on her victories tonight, and I look forward to issue-oriented campaigns in the 14 contests to come.
“I am proud that we were able to win a resounding victory tonight in Rhode Island, the one state with an open primary where independents had a say in the outcome. Democrats should recognize that the ticket with the best chance of winning this November must attract support from independents as well as Democrats. I am proud of my campaign’s record in that regard.
“The people in every state in this country should have the right to determine who they want as president and what the agenda of the Democratic Party should be. That’s why we are in this race until the last vote is cast. That is why this campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform that calls for a $15 an hour minimum wage, an end to our disastrous trade policies, a Medicare-for-all health care system, breaking up Wall Street financial institutions, ending fracking in our country, making public colleges and universities tuition free and passing a carbon tax so we can effectively address the planetary crisis of climate change.”