Is Bernie’s ‘Political Revolution’ the Real Thing or a Pathetic Joke?
The problem then is not that by endorsing Clinton, Sanders would be helping to elect her. If he endorses her, nobody will believe a word he’s saying! The problem is that he will have betrayed and effectively destroyed the very “political revolution” that he claims has been the raison d’état of his campaign.
There will, at the end of the day, be no movement at all after the tens of millions of dollars raised, the millions of primary votes cast, and all the speeches and rallies, if Sanders just endorses Clinton and then goes back to Vermont to becomes the same obscure independent senator from a small rural state that he was before this campaign began. He will be a historical nobody, and his movement, his “political revolution,” will be lucky to make even a historical footnote in any history of America in the 21st Century.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Sanders’ supporters don’t want him to endorse Clinton. They want him to keep fighting, and he can. First and foremost he has to state clearly that Clinton and her corporatist ilk have had their day, that she does not deserve the presidency, and that he will continue to denounce her and her opponents as tools of the rich even if he loses the nomination. He has a crucial opportunity to make those points -- a debate in New York on Thursday, just days ahead of the critically important New York state primary. He's already saying that while her "experience" may be "qualify" her to be president, her "judgment" does not. He should hammer that point home, and stop promising to back her if she wins the nomination, something he will clearly be asked about in the CNN-run debate.
But meanwhile, he should also be considering another option in case she does win the Democratic nomination: running against her outside the Democratic Party.
There are several ways he could do this. With the name recognition and support and credibility he has already won, he could mount an independent campaign -- getting on the ballot where he can manage it, or running as a write-in candidate (the name Sanders is not hard to spell!) where he can’t. He has already demonstrated that he will not have difficulty raising money, raising over $150 million from ordinary people -- nearly double what Clinton has managed to cajole out of her obscenely wealthy corporate sponsors.
Better yet, he should enter into negotiations with the Green Party, which is already on the ballot in at least 35 states. The Greens have languished as a party for decades, unable to receive more than one or two percent of the vote in any national election, if that, and unable to elect even one national candidate to Congress. They clearly need a game changer to become a significant political force. Sanders needs ballot access. Does anyone besides me see the makings of what Donald Trump would call a beautiful deal here?