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Bernie should run as an independent

Published by marco on

I titled and started writing this article on March 6th.

A lot has changed since then.

Bernie’s lead evaporates

I wrote the following at the end of March.

Bernie is now almost mathematically unable to win the Democratic nomination.

Then this article got away from me again.

A lot has changed since then.

The Democrats were always going to nominate Biden.

The country needs Bernie right now.

In light of the massive changing of the facts on the ground engendered by COVID-19, Bernie should rescind his commitment to support whoever is nominated as a Democrat.

Watch the debate from the debate from Sunday on March 15th: Bernie clearly thinks Biden is despicable and that his behavior in this time of crisis is beyond the pale. He calls him out on lying again and again, on not knowing the facts—he even tells him to shut up.[1]

Bernie should run as an independent.

Bernie should keep running until the U.N. is forced to intervene in U.S. elections.

The fraud is rampant. Voter suppression is striking. Party machinations with ballot-switching. Gerrymandering. No-vote lists.

All Bernie can do is to keep going, pressing against the rubber bands holding him back, until he either breaks through or is thrown back, as he was in 2016.

I hope like hell that he breaks through. He won’t break the system. It’s already broken for most of us. He can only break it for those who have their boot on our necks.

Bernie drops out

Ok, so now it’s April 9th and Bernie has dropped out of the race.

This article got away from me again.

The article We Have Won the Ideological Battle by Bernie Sanders (Jacobin) is a transcript of Bernie’s speech when he bowed out of the presidential race. The article Thank You, Bernie Sanders by Ronan Burtenshaw (Jacobin) details what he did for the movement and the article Bernie Supporters, Don’t Give Up by Eric Blanc (Jacobin) discusses the way forward for progressives and socialist.

I don’t think there is a way forward without a revolution. It doesn’t have to be a violent revolution but, if even the COVID crisis isn’t enough to drop the scales from America’s eyes, then I don’t know if there is hope in that country without a complete reset. Nearly every other country in the West has fled back to its progressive roots. These are the countries doing the best in this crisis.

In other places, the analysis has begun to determine why Bernie failed. Bernie did not fail. The system failed. The system is configured to disallow dissent. It worked beautifully. For the second election in a row, Americans have the choice between two horrific presidential candidates.

There is no need to minutely examine the reasons why a certain group of voters didn’t go Bernie’s way. Not when the following elephants are in the room:

  • Mainstream Media propaganda and framing the narrative[2]
  • Out-of-control campaign finance
  • Active voter suppression[3]

Against this level of brainwashing, there is no way that anyone is going to convince anyone of anything that they don’t already believe.

Winning despite the electorate?

In the poorest regions of America, due to be hardest hit by Corona and unemployment and the coming economic depression (at least in America), Trump support has surged. They think he’s doing a great job. You cannot fight that. You’ve lost before you begin.

You can’t get elected as president despite the electorate.

I’ve written recently about this:

If you can’t get an electorate to vote for their own interests, then the candidate who runs on their interests will lose.

The article Voters Won’t Risk Their Lives for Joe Biden by Carl Beijer (Jacobin) makes some good points, which I cite at length.

“Bernie Sanders lost because our political establishment, having presided over decades of declining hopes and living standards for the poor and working class, has created an electorate that has rightly lost faith in democracy.

“Bernie Sanders lost because decades of deliberate propagandizing by the Republican Party, routinely accepted by an inept and complicit Democratic opposition, has entrenched among voters the self-fulfilling conventional wisdom that America is a center-right nation that would never elect even the most moderate democratic socialist.

“Bernie Sanders lost because decades of media consolidation has placed our most powerful ideological institutions in the hands of an ever-shrinking faction of oligarchs. And their control of the media, in a million overt and subtle ways, guarantees a basically insurmountable opposition campaign against any politician who steps a millimeter outside of Democratic orthodoxy.

“[…]

“Bernie Sanders lost because the institutions and system of neoliberal domination in the twenty-first-century United States, while showing clear signs of dysfunction and decline, have yet to collapse beneath the contradictions of capital; and until they do, no amount of activist enthusiasm or strategic savvy or socialist vision or political ambition is likely to prevail against them.”

Yeah, that’s pretty much it.

It’s like dating. The woman who says she’ll never date anyone under 6 feet tall is never going to do that. You can’t convince her otherwise. It doesn’t matter that this condition is actively hurting her. America is like the dumbest part of the dating world, with completely unreasonable demands that make no sense and don’t at all line up with what it really needs.

Will Bernie capitulate entirely?

If Bernie campaigns for Joe Biden, as he did for Hillary Clinton, then he will have capitulated entirely to the Democratic machine. There is only so far that Bernie is willing to go. It’s unclear why he refuses to cut ties to the Democratic Party. He’s got nearly literally nothing to lose. He’s already lost his whole campaign.

Another Sanders Betrayal by Laurie Dobson (CounterPunch)

“Let me put this in clear terms: Joe Biden, the Democratic Party choice for President- a man with diminished mental capacities, is going against one of the most ruthless contenders in Presidential history, Donald J. Trump. On Bernie’s watch, and with his participation by concession, the Democratic Party will be utterly destroyed in November, and will have richly deserved it.”

Roaming Charges: The Condition Our Condition is in by Jeffrey St. Clair (CounterPunch)

“Leave it to Jacobin magazine to play the “hope card” after Sanders got smoked by a weaker, underfunded opponent not even his own supporters are enthused about. If there’s “hope” it’s not with the Democrats, who responded to HRC’s loss by nominating someone to her right, a rapist who “pals around” with segregationists….”

I think that the U.S. will be so different by November because of COVID that perhaps only a Bernie-like person could save it. Bernie has walked away twice now, preferring to stay cozy with a clearly compromised Democratic party than to lead a revolution.

How does Bernie quit now? Biden is on his last legs, health-wise. Maybe Bernie is, too. Who knows? But why shitcan a giant revolutionary movement and let it subside beneath the waters with nary a ripple? Doesn’t he care what his supporters think? Did he ever?

Biden’s a bit handsy, no?

He’s got a rape accusation hanging around his neck that the establishment is doing its best to ignore, but that even they won’t be able to stave off forever. Can you imagine if Biden makes it to the fall? Trump will be able to run to the left of Biden on sexual assault. I can see it now: “Joe, I like the ladies too, but #lookbutdonttouch.

For Christ’s sake, the Dems and the Woke are setting up a hypocritical loophole for Biden that’s big enough for Trump to drive a truck through with this whole Tara Reade accusation that they’re deliberately ignoring because she went after the wrong guy. They let Al Franken get thrown under the bus—too progressive and mouthy—but they’ve invested way too much time and effort in Biden to let some floozy ruin it for them now.

The article As The Goldbergs Flip, The Sham Is Revealed by Scott H. Greenfield (Simple Justice) sums it us well:

“But what [they’ve] done by [their] desperate avoidance of the only real question at hand, […] is proven that reliance on facts, reason and due process to determine whether a rape has occurred hasn’t changed at all, and the laundry list of excuses is just that, facile nonsense to cover up the failure of facts, reason and due process. The only difference is whether the man, this time, is a guy they want to destroy or not. Nothing more.”

The Dems and the media think they have everything under control because they’ve got their kowtowing brainwashed Maddow-loving idiots on board and chanting their mantra. Trump and the Republicans will eat them alive and barely break a sweat. They do not care. They will also have the luxury of taking down an opponent that is actively helping them do so—by being nearly unbelievably hypocritical.

Biden’s racism?

Bernie just refused to attack Biden on any of his major flaws. Biden will not shut up about his friends Trent Lott and Strom Thurmond: Trump could run to the left of Biden on integration as well. In September, American TV will be plastered with pictures of Biden holding hands with a hooded Strom Thurmond and Trump will sweep the black vote, too.

I wonder how they strong-armed Bernie into quitting, though. I’ve read that Obama wheedled him into it, but I think he threatened him, a la Breaking Bad or Ozark. He probably threatened his wife, family and (maybe) legacy to force Bernie to see the light. Or maybe Bernie was just tired.

He’s old, perhaps tired, perhaps understandably frustrated and not very hopeful. Ralph Nader has the right ideas and has a lot of energy, but is also too old by now. AOC? Still too young, but maybe it doesn’t matter. She’s got a great tweet game, but has also been tacking toward the Democrats rather than DSA when required.

By November, Biden will be so irrelevant that no-one will even remember that he was ever a nominee—much like Beto O’Rourke or Pete Buttigieg. Trump may still be around—he’s proven to be able to adapt to many situations, no matter what else you can say about him. Biden has in no way shown that he can do so.

A country with 30% unemployment, in a full-blown depression with 2 million dead from a single virus will definitely be focused in a way it hasn’t previously been.

Bernie endorses Biden

It’s April 14th and there you have it: Bernie endorses Biden. Bernie just likes him. He promised he would endorse the Democratic candidate. It’s like Bernie doesn’t care what anyone thinks as long as he keeps his word to the Democrats. Those tendrils must run very, very deep.

The following four-minute video sums things up very nicely. Camp makes the point that Bernie doesn’t “understand what a political revolution is”.[4] A revolution starts because something is wrong. Biden is more of the same. Slightly different than Trump (maybe), but wrong. Not addressing the problem the revolution wants to solve. Camp: “A revolution does not endorse the exact fucking opposite thing.”

Bernie's Endorsement of Biden Is Wrong in Every Way! by Lee Camp (YouTube)

Bernie said all along that he would do exactly this. He literally said he would endorse the nominee. He’s capitulated early. He’s endorsed before the nomination. I think he’s just tired of fighting. So Bernie’s not the guy, I guess. Much of his platform is, though.

Camp:

“A revolution does not give up.

“A revolution does not back down.

“A revolution does not decide the math is against us.

“A revolution does not concede that it’s over.

“A revolution does not say “the writing’s on the wall”.

“A revolution does not get in bed with corporate America because you couldn’t win.

“Stay angry.

“Now is not the time to endorse the status quo. Now is the time to fight for something different, something new, some large-scale change.”

Trump’s not a dictator

All along, progressives have been told to hold their nose and vote because nothing could be worse than Trump. Trump is going to seize power. He’s going to establish a dictatorship. He’s going to cancel elections. Isn’t is quite obvious that Trump’s ambitions don’t extend that far? He seems to have found his sweet spot with his nightly COVID press conferences. He hasn’t consolidated federal power in any way. He’s outflanking the Democrats on the left, somehow inadvertently proposing to cover everyone’s medical bills.

But he’s not a dictator. He’s too lazy for that. He just wants attention. Now he has it. A lot of it. Also, he really likes giving people nicknames and delivering occasionally very funny zingers at his opponents.[5]

But progressives will take the blame again when Trump wins against Biden. I wrote the article Blaming the Greens Nine Months in Advance about an open letter from February where many eminent scholars were already searching about for culprits for the inevitable loss to Trump.

This was before the Coronavirus, though, which definitely is the only thing that Trump might bungle enough to not get elected. His mastery of the news media[6] and the news media’s mastery of public opinion will probably combine to grant him even more control of the narrative than usual.

Something else might stop Trump, but Biden won’t even be a speed bump. I don’t even know how to describe the shitstorm that is about to rain down on the Dems.

Vote for whom you want

Vote for a revolution. Vote for what you want. Don’t settle. Go down fighting. COVID changes everything. Build something new and better from the ashes.

Bernie is gone, but may his movement live on.


[1]

This course of action was recommended in the article Bernie Sanders/Joe Biden Debate: Go Out Swinging by Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone)

“The Warren-Maddow tête-à-tête was a perfect symbol of everything Sanders spent his career renouncing. Heading into a pandemic that left the richest country in the world paralyzed for lack of hospital beds, a functioning coverage system, and testing capability, our upper classes wept over rando Twitter meanies.

“Whether he wants it to be or not, the coronavirus disaster is a pitch in Bernie’s wheelhouse, highlighting the massive structural obstacles we face precisely because our electoral system is weighted against serious people and in favor of industry-backed nitwits and sellouts.

“Our medical bureaucracy is choked with waste and inefficiency and stays that way by mutual consent, with Republicans entirely opposed to health care reform, and Democrats merely opposed to any change that inconveniences insurers and pharmaceutical companies. The Sanders campaign was a promise to break up this conspiracy of inaction.”

But Bernie didn’t go hard enough.

[2]

The article Blowing in the Whirlwind: As Ye Sow, Joe Shall Ye Reap by Chris Floyd (CounterPunch) discusses this framing at length.

“For it’s a fact that most Americans – who get what little political news they care to imbibe from casual glances at the media – will never have heard a single report about Sanders that wasn’t negative in some respect, or in all respects. Again, this goes double for casually liberal Democrats, who get their news and views from the NYT, MSNBC, NPR, CNN, CBS, ABC, WP, etc. There, Sanders is portrayed either as the horned spawn of Chavez and Che, come to ravage your 401k and execute millionaires in Central Park – or else as a unicorn-chasing fantasist with no sense of gritty, savvy realpolitik, which dictates that we must always hew slavishly to the centrist mean.”

“Overwhelmed, battered, beset, anxiety-ridden, suffering, confused, many people don’t want to hear that hard work and big changes will be necessary if we are to have a chance for things to get better. They just want to latch on to something that will let them feel – if only for a moment – that the anxiety can go away, that someone up there in the circles of power will take care of it for us.

“This is not the wisest course when faced with overwhelming crises – but it is an entirely natural and understandable one. When you couple this natural reaction to extremity with the aforementioned systematic effort to undermine and thwart the Sanders’ campaign, then it’s not surprising you end up with a blank screen like Joe Biden as your candidate.”

[3]

The following video has an excellent recap of shenanigans:

~283~ Voter Suppression, Closed Polling Places, Rigged Media & More by Redacted Tonight (YouTube)

This was before the Democrats held a primary in a state where only 2.5% of polling stations were open and they called it a fair election.

[4]

The article “Bernie Sanders Has Inspired a Mass Popular Movement” by Noam Chomsky (Jacobin) goes into a lot more detail about the problems Bernie’s revolutionary movement wanted to address (it’s not dead, but it’s no longer his movement).

“These are all specific problems. They’re not completely unique to the United States, of course, but they happen to be exaggerated here because of the nature of the society — that it is business-run to an unusual extent, and this business community is militant and organized. The Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations are fighting a bitter class war.”
“This is a class war that goes on constantly in the United States to a level far beyond other comparable societies. You can see this in many ways. If you take a look at CEO salaries relative to workers’ pay the gap, especially since the 1980s, is far higher in the United States than it is in European societies. These are all crucial issues in the United States which require a very intensive effort.”
“The reason why Sanders is vilified in the media pretty much across the spectrum is not so much because of his policies. It’s because he has inspired a mass popular movement which doesn’t just show up every four years to push a button but is acting constantly — pressuring — to achieve changes and having some success. That’s frightening for the business class. The role of the public is to be passive spectators and not to interfere.”
“Among Republicans the only ones that received even a slight majority were Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Breitbart, which is an ultraright website. Even the Wall Street Journal is considered too far left for most Republicans. You just listen to Rush Limbaugh someday. You’ll see what kind of information people are getting. For Rush Limbaugh, science, government, and the media are pillars of deceit — and you just have to listen to the ultraright instead. That’s what Republicans, almost half the population, are getting as information.”
“In the 1920s the labor movement had been killed — inequality was soaring, it was a capitalist paradise, and there were no popular movements. In the 1930s, it all radically changed — that can happen again.”

The article To Defeat Corporate Hate, Bernie Bros Must Channel Martin Luther King by Nick Pemberton (CounterPunch) offers more hope for how to continue post-Bernie.

“Fascism is about us vs. them, as Jason Stanley points out in the latest episode of Counterpunch radio. An enemy is needed. I would never compare Bernie to Trump, or left to right. But we have to ask serious questions about how the present age of fascism has degraded our political life. We aren’t talking about style here. We are talking about a principled resistance to the weakness of hate. It takes work. Just as resisting any form of power does.”
“In any kind of defeat of another person, we feel that same sick feeling. That feeling that before I took down someone else, I was small. We don’t look at the system that rewards such behavior. We don’t ask in what way can I free myself from this feeling that brings both of us down? I see this temptation to become better than others through political expression. However, this mentality runs contrary to the political stance itself which is asking how can we all get to a better society. If we can accept that each of us is vulnerable, capable of both good and evil, each of us became who we are from the context we arose out of, then our only priority becomes changing the context itself to make it more enriching for all.”
“Imagine if a response to being called a hate-filled Bernie Bro went something like this: I choose not to profit off of other people’s suffering, I choose to oppose the system that does, I believe in love, the power of it, in both my heart and yours, I don’t hate you, in fact I love you, it is because of this that I come with my sincere message, no matter the cost to me, because I fear for our civilization and our planet. I believe in love, and despite this opportunity to present myself as someone superior to you, despite this opportunity to degrade you, I will not,”
[5] Who can forget what he told Jeb Bush, after Jeb had told a debate crowd that his mother was the best person in the world? Trump said “Then she should be running,” Jeb was dead in the water days later.
[6] Trump’s even dealing nearly exclusively with a new network that seems to have been imagined out of whole cloth to replace the less-than-perfectly-reliable FOX