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Open Letter to Bernie

 
 
Reply Wed 22 Feb, 2017 06:42 am
Courtesy Huffington Post

The Progressive Movement At The Crossroads: An Open Letter To Bernie Sanders
Dear Senator Bernie Sanders,
Prior to 2015, I was an Independent voter who had voted Democrat in every presidential election I had been old enough to participate in. I considered myself to be performing my civic duty by voting once every four years for the least-bad presidential candidate. I had never voted in a primary election nor a midterm election and I had never donated to nor volunteered for a political campaign. In my mind, there were no candidates worthy of that sort of support, none who represented my views on the issues facing our nation; so the lesser-evil became the only sensible option. In short, I was politically disillusioned and disengaged.
All of that changed when you announced your candidacy in 2015.
I was an early supporter of your campaign for the Democratic Party nomination and a founding member of your “Super Pack” of small-dollar donors, donating $10 a month starting in August 2015. During moments of the campaign when the odds seemed particularly stacked against you, your positive, progressive, politically revolutionary message shone through as a beacon of motivation and hope. In those moments, and there were more than a few, I would donate $50. I attended multiple rallies, voter registration drives and phone-bank sessions in the months leading up to the first primary contest. You inspired me, and millions of progressive Democrats and Independents alike, to stand and fight for a brighter political future. You showed us we are not alone in our values, that we can be a powerful force for change when we stand together. I cannot thank you enough for waking us up.
That being said, the chicanery of the Democratic National Committee leadership to subvert your campaign, as revealed in leaked DNC emails, combined with widespread voter suppression efforts by party officials and mainstream media outlets was, to say the least, hard to bear. For months, many millions of your supporters (the vast majority of whom followed your lead and voted for Hillary Clinton in the end) were crying out for the party elites to realize what was plain to see: You were the only candidate who could beat Donald Trump because of your strength with working class and Independent voters. National polling just days prior to the general election showed you crushing Trump by double-digits in a hypothetical matchup, whereas Clinton remained in a statistical tie. We are all now living with the results of the Democratic Party establishment’s colossal error in judgement.
Since the election, I’ve been searching for signs within the Democratic Party leadership indicating a lesson has been learned and the necessity for substantial reform is recognized. Unfortunately, those signs have been few and far between. The Democratic punditry is quick to place blame on any number of outside factors but loath to introspect. Due to seeming intransigence and lack of contrition by party leaders like Nancy Pelosi and others, party membership has reportedly dropped by 14 million in just over three months.
The progressive movement you inspired, the “political revolution”, has thus reached the crossroads. The members of the Democratic National Committee must choose if they are willing to reform and be the vehicle for progressive change or not. That choice is fast approaching this week in the form of the DNC chair selection (February 23rd - 26th).
You, of course, have been leading the push to reform the Democratic Party away from neoliberal corporatism and back into the party of working people. Your choice to implement that reform as the next DNC chair is Keith Ellison. Regardless of my own feelings about Congressman Ellison, he was an early supporter of your candidacy for president and was also a member of your platform delegation. He has clearly earned your trust and support.
Ellison’s main opponent, Tom Perez, is a progressive the likes of Hillary Clinton. His recent admission at the DNC forum about the primaries being rigged along with the subsequent twitter retraction demonstrate both his blatant political opportunism and his quick capitulation to establishment elites in one fell swoop.
The selection of DNC chair is eerily echoing the Democratic primaries. The parallels are all present: progressivism vs neoliberalism, reform vs status quo, grassroots vs establishment. It even includes a premature, anonymous accounting of support, similar to the AP announcement of an inevitable Clinton nomination the day before the California primary.
Many progressives, like myself, see this as the last chance for the Democratic Party to change its present course at the national level. For others, the last chance already came and went with the tainted primary race. Although their support may never return, ours can and will if real structural changes are implemented within the party. The first step toward that change, I think you would agree, is for DNC members to select Keith Ellison as chair.
If Perez is selected, however, your brand of progressive reform will have been rejected once again by the Democratic Party establishment, proving that, even in the wake of a devastating election loss and a national repudiation of the status quo, they are incapable of reform. They would be demonstrating the definition of insanity by doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.
The herculean goal of reforming the Democratic Party is commendable and I truly hope still achievable, but if it’s proven otherwise, I would implore you to reconsider the idea proposed by your former campaign staffer, Nick Brana, to form your own party. The integrity of your ideas and ideals which you’ve expressed long before, during, and since the 2016 campaign inspired and united so many of us, who had all but given up on the political process, to get involved and be the change we wish to see. A party with such a powerful message as yours, with your honest leadership and the enthusiasm of the nation’s young people and progressive Independents would be a formidable, viable electoral force, indeed.
Those of us who have followed your lead to this point are eager to see evidence of your message being heeded, but we will not support a party if it doesn’t support us or share our values. We cannot gain significant power within a party whose leaders actively sabotage progressive candidates. Although I know you will always stand up for us, I hope that you will also stand with us outside the Democratic Party if its establishment refuses to change. Whether or not that is the case will become clear this week in Atlanta as members of the DNC choose their next leader and thus the future of the progressive movement within the party.
Sincerely,
A Progressive Voter
 
Sturgis
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Feb, 2017 11:08 am
Agree with the majority of the article.


What needs to take place now is for the Democratic party to fully fracture. Divide into two entities and move forward from there. At some point down the road, one side may emerge as the victor. Or, they could manage to become equal, with the Hillary group also pulling some fence-warming middle of the roader Republicans (those who sometimes go Dem and sometimes Repub). One thing is clear, it is way past the time where a third party must get itself together. It's likely the only real way of ending gridlock and pulling out of this seemingly terminal morass.
maporsche
 
  3  
Reply Wed 22 Feb, 2017 11:10 am
@Sturgis,
Sturgis wrote:

Agree with the majority of the article.


What needs to take place now is for the Democratic party to fully fracture. Divide into two entities and move forward from there. At some point down the road, one side may emerge as the victor. Or, they could manage to become equal, with the Hillary group also pulling some fence-warming middle of the roader Republicans (those who sometimes go Dem and sometimes Repub). One thing is clear, it is way past the time where a third party must get itself together. It's likely the only real way of ending gridlock and pulling out of this seemingly terminal morass.


Cute thought, but never before in the history of nations has a 'first-past-the-post' system ever had a successful third party.

Maybe if we had a different system or even if electoral votes were proportional....maybe then, but for sure not now.
0 Replies
 
Sturgis
 
  2  
Reply Wed 22 Feb, 2017 11:13 am
We have to start somewhere, sitting around bemoaning the mess and doing nothing sure hasn't worked.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Wed 22 Feb, 2017 11:48 am
Hillary went on a dead end road twice and failed, predictably. Obama was a new enough presence to get by, but ultimately is another Hillary. I absolutely will never vote for that type of candidate again. Since I swore off of Republicans in the Reagan era, the only alternative for myself is third party or a sea change in the Democratic party.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  4  
Reply Wed 22 Feb, 2017 11:56 am
@Sturgis,
Pretty much agree with you.

Mr. Sanders wasn't/ isn't a Democrat. He voted with Democrats a lot, but he's not a Democrat.

I think the party needs to find someone young and interested in moving the Democratic party platform forward. I don't see anyone other than a white man being successful right now. I would love to be proven wrong.
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Wed 22 Feb, 2017 12:27 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:
I think the party needs to find someone young


Yes. Over here Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader overwhelmingly. The result is that Labour's polling is rock bottom. He's too much of a beardie weirdie sandal wearing type who simply puts off mainstream voters. Most of the issues he appears interested in like Trident are not shared by the general electorate.

There are two groups opposed to Corbyn in the Labour party, the first has a problem with his politics, the second has no problem with his politics but sees him as inept and ineffectual. I'm of the second group. We desperately need a young dynamic leader because if Corbyn is the leader in 2010 we will crash and burn.
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Wed 22 Feb, 2017 12:57 pm
I don't care how old they are, so long as they move to represent the American public, instead of corporate/military almost exclusively. It's not enough to push a few liberal social issues and acquiesce to big business, ultimately.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Feb, 2017 07:57 am
I posted this elsewhere, but it bears repeating.
“We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
camlok
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Feb, 2017 08:49 am
@edgarblythe,
Do you think that FDR was maybe just being a bit paranoid?
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Feb, 2017 10:40 am
@camlok,
No.
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Thu 23 Feb, 2017 11:54 am
@camlok,
camlok wrote:

Do you think that FDR was maybe just being a bit paranoid?

Years later, Eisenhower was saying essentially the same thing.
0 Replies
 
camlok
 
  0  
Reply Thu 23 Feb, 2017 11:58 am
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
No.


I don't either. But I'm not at all surprised to hear that someone as dishonest as Ike would say that.
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Feb, 2017 09:45 pm
@camlok,
Yes. I remember Ike warning us about the military industrial complex. Everyone knows that was a crock, right?
RABEL222
 
  0  
Reply Sat 25 Feb, 2017 07:48 pm
@camlok,
http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/jom/0112/eagar/eagar-0112.html
camlok
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Mar, 2017 07:03 pm
@RABEL222,
No, I didn't suggest it was a crock. All I said was that Ike never did sweet tweet about it, 'it' being the MIC. He supported it, the war crimes it commits, the murders, rapes, torture, thefts, ... .

Ike was the one that essentially started the illegal invasion of Vietnam, completely trashing all the phony US principles about freedom, liberty, and the rest of the crap.
0 Replies
 
camlok
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Mar, 2017 07:05 pm
@RABEL222,


What's your point, Deep Throat?
RABEL222
 
  2  
Reply Thu 9 Mar, 2017 08:31 pm
@camlok,
How are you doing JTT? Still wearing your aluminum hat?
0 Replies
 
centrox
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Mar, 2017 01:19 am
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:
if Corbyn is the leader in 2010 we will crash and burn.

But in 2010 we will be Time Lords, so maybe we can avoid that fate?
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Mar, 2017 01:52 am
@centrox,
Hopefully. I was willing to give Corbyn the benefit of the doubt, and opposed the PLP coup, but he's hardly inspiring. His first action as leader was to alienate most of the electorate by banging on about Trident, not jobs, the NHS, public transport, housing, things that people actually cared about but bloody Trident. His performance in the referendum was lacklustre to say the least, and losing the Copeland by election was a bloody disaster.
 

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