Friday May 29

Back Story; More Free Advice for the Sandernistas

The voters are speaking in the Democratic primary, loud and clear, like it or not. Super Tuesday and Big Tuesday or whatever are clear. Voters are on the “who can best beat Trump” team, rather than being for or even against other candidates. Former Vice-President Joe Biden is clearly winning on that score likely because the baggage he is carrying is lighter than the one Senator Bernie Sanders is toting. It’s not the program or the platform though. It’s all about Trump. The voters have spoken. They would vote for an old shaggy dog, if they thought that dog would beat Trump. Who is surprised, I mean, really surprised, raise your hands? Yes, I didn’t think so.

Here comes some advice to Sanders and all of the Sandernsistas among us, but first some disclosures. I’m not to be trusted in this area. To this day, I have had trouble forgiving Senator Elizabeth Warren for not running in 2016, when she could have been president. To this day, I can’t believe I was sitting in London in 2016 telling the head of the Resolution Trust that I was hoping that Trump got the Republican nomination, because I thought he was the only candidate I felt confident that Hillary Clinton could beat. We all know how that turned out. And to add another log on the fire, after Sanders lost the nomination then, I argued it was the perfect time for him to lead the effort to build a third party in the United States. Not surprisingly, I’m going to make that same case again and throw it out there with a hope and a prayer in 2020 as well.

Let’s be honest. We have two corporate parties in the United States, bought and sold, roped and branded. Traditionally, one, the Democrats, is center liberal, and the other, the Republicans, was center right, but now is hard right. Refreshingly, we read now in the Age of Trump that we have a left, but it is a serious miscalculation to believe that we have a left party and that party’s name is Democrat. I read a quote from Congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the other day saying that who could believe that she and Joe Biden were in the same party. My point, exactly!

Once this November election is over and done, it’s time to do something about that, and Sanders and AOC are the perfect drummers for that march. They each have a significant and passionate base on the left. It’s not a majority, but it’s a healthy and hearty third or so. Both also have an important, even if paradoxical, asset, which is the ability to raise huge amounts of money from tons of small donors. Political parties have been successfully built on weaker pillars than those.

I’m not saying party building is easy. Certainly, I am not going to argue that the process would be quickly achieved. What I am saying is, what a perfect time to get serious and get started!

Sanders at his age categorically knows this presidential election was his last shot. Why spend his political capital and remaining years being a left liberal gadfly within the Democratic Party, when he could pave the way for the future with a new party? There’s also little risk for Ocasio-Cortez. She could get re-elected in her New York district on virtually any ticket. Voters know they won’t be wasting their votes, because they can still caucus with the Democrats, as Sanders has proven as a democratic socialist independent, regardless of their new party affiliation.

Like every party, in the beginning it would be national in name only, but you start by building an effective local base that can prevail in electoral contests. Although the Working Family Party likes to fuse, they have won races on their own line in Connecticut and New York, when they were strategic in analyzing their strength and opportunity. Regardless, would they do worse than the so-called Justice Democrats have done? They might lose a lot before they win a little, and then, shoulder to the wheel, win more as they dig in deeper.

Why piss and moan or, even worse, tweet and troll. It’s got to start someplace and sometime. Why not now?

WADE RATHKE is the Chief Organizer of ACORNInternational, Founder and Chief Organizer of ACORN (1970-2008), and Founder and Chief Organizer of Local 100, United Labor Unions (ULU).

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