By Arun Gupta (March 3, 2016)
Dear Bernie Sanders supporters,
I know it’s difficult to accept but it’s over. Fivethirtyeight.com, which provides the best analysis of electoral chances, writes that Hillary Clinton’s lead is pretty much insurmountable, and that’s not including super-delegates. Bernie Sanders would have to win by large margins in the remaining states to catch up and he hasn’t done that anywhere except in New Hampshire and Vermont.
I was bitterly disappointed in the first election I participated in, Jesse Jackson’s 1988 campaign. I was also crestfallen after Ralph Nader’s showing in 2000. I didn’t come to the conclusion overnight that the electoral system is rigged. This is the 8th presidential election that I’ve covered as a reporter and analyst.
It’s tempting to cling to whatever victories Sanders eeks out going forward because it’s hard to see other paths to take. It’s also an understandable resistance to being browbeaten into rallying around a Wall Street warmonger like Hillary Clinton if Trump is the nominee. Now, I think Trump is a genuine fascist as I recently described, but my position has not changed from the first article I wrote nine months ago, “The Only Article You Need to Read About the 2016 Election.”
Read or re-read it. I’ll be here. As I pointed out then, and delved into detail in numerous articles since (links below), the primary process is rigged against left insurgents like Sanders. Obama was never a threat to the ruling class, which is why he was able to win in 2008. Obama, the Clintons and Democratic Party leaders are ruthless, cynical, and savvy. They don’t get and retain power by being dumb or leaving open the possibility that a bunch of socialists can hijack their corporate operation.
Now, there are positives to come out of Sanders campaign such as the enthusiasm, the millions engaged, and the rehabilitation of the word socialist. But there are downsides, which I described in the first article below. And despite innumerable pronouncements from leading leftists that Sanders campaign could help the left create better organizations, it hasn’t happened after 10 months. The only ones it benefited were those already organized, and that’s mainly rank-and-file militants in unions supporting Clinton.
Hopefully, another positive to come out of this is many thousands of people have been drawn to socialism, real socialism, and experienced the manipulation of the primary process by Democratic Party elites. I find telling people what to think or do is no substitute for living politics. But this is where analysis has its role. When people are confused and feeling defeated, there is still hope.
That hope should be placed in our own capacity, not a bankrupt system. The question is more urgent than ever: how does the left build a real base of power, independent of the Wall Street duopoly. If you remain active in Sanders campaign, start to initiate collective discussions and set up organizations that come out of this election and carry the fight forward on more favorable ground.
Now, nine months ago I wrote if you live in a true swing state, cast a ballot for Clinton. As Jeremy Scahill just put it, “Trump is the candidate of bigotry and fascism. Hillary is the candidate of Empire.” This is a tactical choice, not an endorsement of the odious Clintons. (Like I wrote, that was the only article you needed to read.) But if you don’t vote, I won’t condemn you, especially if you are in the streets opposing whoever assumes office in January 2017. And I won’t suggest anyone carry water for the Democratic Party who isn’t already planning to do so.
My energy, as always, is going into independent political action. While Trump is uniquely dangerous and must be stopped, the left needs to build a movement that has the support, flexibility, and creativity to make the work difficult of whichever barbaric party wins the presidential election.