May 17, 2016
A word to the leadership of the Democratic Party:
And that is, that is, that the Democratic Party is going to have to make
A very, very profound and important decision. It can do the right thing
And open its door and welcome into the party people who are prepared
To fight for real economic and social change.
~ Bernie Sanders
STATESBORO, GA – This morning I got notice that I’d been denied credentials in the first round of vetting for both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, citing “immense interest in this year’s political process.” A few E-mails later, a buddy of mine, steeped in the deliberations, wrote back: “You’ve been fucked, man.”
He told me that, for the first time since ’72, the process has been overtaken by the parties in order to weed out “disruptive elements,” or rather, both parties are dedicated this go-round to weed out any possible interruptions that might interfere, including independent persons, critical media, focused groups like Black Lives Matter and The Never Trump movement, a move that, while steeped in history, has rarely been enforced to such excessive lengths.
With a little bit of digging, I heard from another source that both presumptive nominees have been closing the window for any supposed “dissident elements” at such an alarming rate that observers have been calling it a “slamming of the door,” a term that is both accurate and weak in its depiction of how deliberate and violent the action actually is. Already political journalists have been flooding the appropriate forums and airing their grievances, though those complaints are either going to be heard by the Congressional Special Press Corps or else silenced for at least the next four years, if not, well, you know, forever.
Regardless of those efforts, tonight’s primaries were another stark reminder that we’re not quite to November yet and that at least one of the contests isn’t quite settled. In Oregon Bernie Sanders won one of his more signature victories, a state that features more demographic diversity than most of the states he’s won already, and his support is larger than expected while his loss in Kentucky, long predicted, was by the slimmest of margins—less than two thousand votes at last count. Though there’s a very slim margin of error for Sanders to take the nomination—he must win, at this point, somewhere in the area of sixty percent of the remaining states’ votes, including California—the tone and rhetoric in Bernie’s speeches have only heightened and intensified in recent days. His target isn’t necessarily Secretary Clinton, but rather the very establishment of politics, the process by which national politicians earn their donations and millionaires and billionaires pad their coffers.
Adding to his rhetorical fire was the Nevada Democratic Convention, a party event in so much as there were Democrats in the same room that turned into an all-out brawl that gave physical and visual credence to the divide that threatens to tear the party apart at the seams. The ruling body, stacked with Clinton supporters, ran roughshod over the assembled Sanders crowd, a power move that was met with not only boos but physical opposition that resulted in members of the corium being removed by security. Cable news spent their next three cycles analyzing and predicting whether the schism was permanent or if Secretary Clinton could heal the divide, all the while forgetting that actual humans with actual political beliefs and convictions were involved.
Tonight, Debi Wasserman Schultz, the most ineffective and embarrassing party leader this side of Reince Priebus, took to the air to criticize the Sanders coalition in Nevada, calling on Bernie to reign in his supporters, a call that discounted his and his movement’s wild popularity within the party and their sway over an entire generation and persuasion of voters. In the same breath, she called for a coalescing of sorts that would bring Sanders bloc back under the umbrella and shepherd them to Clinton for November. It’s a tall task that might not even be accomplished if Sanders told his supporters to support her as this so-called Revolution has actual legs that might prevent it from ever plying itself to the Democratic Party, a group that has more or less disavowed itself from its original, stated mission of championing the working and middle-class and has instead devoted itself to representing lawyers, the tech sector, and union leaders who bundle donations and support.
The chances, obviously, of Sanders running the table in such an overwhelming manner that he upsets the current delegate lead and unseats Clinton as presumptive nominee, are low, but that hasn’t stopped him delivering speeches, raising record-breaking funds, or keeping this race alive and well. This is an ongoing battle until California has voted and all calls from the national media for him to drop out and give them the extended battle between Clinton and Trump they’re clamoring for are premature. Sanders will either roll into Philadelphia with a competitive cluster of delegates in order to change the party forever, whether that’s in regard to their nominating process or platform, or he’ll take a detour and seek out new territory with a party or revolution that will challenge the two-party system, perhaps with support from the long-islanded reform voters and, maybe, the Green Partiers and independents.
Regardless, there’s obviously a decision: barricade the door and prepare for a siege or open it wide and take your chances.
Photo by Croydon girl