Bernie Sanders just dropped out of the presidential election. After running a progressive campaign against the establishment, the corporate media, and the corrupt wings of the Democratic and Republican parties, Sanders threw-in the towel after concluding that the delegate math is simply “impossible” to overcome.
It did not have to be this way.
Sanders is a politician unlike most others in the United States. Contrary to the vast majority of corporate-friendly, self-serving politicians who work on behalf of the wealthy, Bernie Sanders always stood for progressive values and cherishing the needs of the middle and working classes. This is evidenced by his long career of activism, dating back to his days as an organizer in college and continuing through his adult life, where he eventually was elected the Mayor of Burlington, Vermont followed by the state’s congressman and, later, his ascension to the United States Senate.
Despite all of the pressures that Wall Street place on policymakers to ignore the needs of their constituents and, instead, implement legislation that disproportionately benefits the rich, Sanders was one of only a small handful of honest, authentic progressives who actively championed the causes of the working class, well before it was popular to do so. He has been fighting for a universal healthcare system since at least the 1980s, standing-up for the rights of LGBT Americans since the early days of his political career, and warning us of the dangers of concentrated power, global warming, and other systemic threats since before most of us were even born.
Bernie Sanders, the most popular politician in the Senate, was poised to become the Democratic nominee as recently as late February, but then the Democratic establishment, fearing the prospect that an anti-corruption, anti-Wall Street politician would challenge their power, authority, and wealth, coalesced around Joe Biden, the candidate who best epitomizes neo-liberalism, in order to stomp-out Sanders. Indeed, by pressuring other Democrats to exit the race, coupled with insurmountable corporate media bias against Sanders, Biden was able to maintain an unearned, post-Nevada primary winning streak that propelled him from near the back of the pack to front-runner status in a matter of days.
And now, the Democratic Party is stuck with a corporatist, neo-liberal warhawk as their standard-bearer, a candidate who has been credibly accused of sexual harassment and rape, has been on the wrong side of history for most of his political career, and holds deep-rooted viewpoints that are profoundly contrary to a basic progressive platform.
Given Biden’s record, lack of coherence, corporate ties, and misogynistic tendencies, it is no wonder why his supporters are far less enthusiastic about his campaign than the enthusiasm emanating from Trump’s base, and while Trump would easily be defeated by any competent opposition candidate, Biden is now within single digits, or even within the margin-of-error, of the current incumbent, depending on the poll.
The Democratic Party tried this strategy already. Remember Hillary Clinton? Remember the power and influence the party wielded to help propel her to the nomination? And look what that got us! And what’s worse, this time around, there is no excitement around electing the first woman president, and Trump will be inherently harder to defeat because he is an incumbent. When coupled with Biden’s longer record of terrible decision-making and his blatant misogynistic behaviors, you have a deadly Trump reelection concoction that will make his reelection inevitable come November.
If the Democratic Party learned their lessons from 2016 and actually guaranteed a fair and impartial process, we would not be in this mess. If the establishment Democrats did not coalesce around, quite literally, the second worst candidate to run for the nomination this cycle, we would have likely seen Bernie continue his winning streak, which began with his popular vote win in Iowa, followed by outright victories in New Hampshire and Nevada, whereby allowing us to celebrate his nomination this summer and ride the wave of progressive enthusiasm that would’ve almost certainly led to Trump’s defeat later this year, bringing about a true progressive revolution, as opposed to Biden’s milquetoast “return to normalcy”.
Instead, we are left with a mediocre candidate who epitomizes everything progressives hate about the Democratic Party.
While we cannot predict the general election results with utmost certainty, it seems very likely at this point in time that Trump will win re-election, but before the corporate media and Democratic Party loyalists begin blaming Sanders and his supporters, just remember that the Democratic Party will be to blame for Trump’s reelection victory. Bernie will no doubt aggressively campaign for Biden, as he did for Clinton four years ago, and many of his supporters will ultimately decide to vote for the lesser of two rapists, but at the end of the day, the sole responsibility rests on the actually candidate to convince the American people that they deserve their support, and Biden is not inspiring that level of enthusiasm.
When millions of alienated progressives decide to stay home in November, or decide to vote Green, write-in Bernie’s name, or leave their ballot empty, don’t blame us or Sanders. Us #BernieorBust folks have been warning the establishment since Sanders ran against Clinton that we will not settle for mediocrity, for a candidate that does not share our values, let alone pass a supposed “purity test”, and for the false “return to normalcy” that keeps us from achieving true progressive reforms while simultaneously allowing the Republican Party to rebound against a milquetoast Democratic Party with someone even worse than Trump in 2024 or 2028.
The only ones who should be blamed for Trump’s likely reelection is the Democratic Party, and if they don’t get their act together in time for the 2024 presidential election, or even the 2022 mid-terms, the party will continue seeing their relevance evaporate before our very eyes, and if that means we need to unite around an alternative party, such as the Green Party, or even start a new party, then so be it.
Note: This article was originally posted on my Medium blog.