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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Bernie Can Win

Bernie may win. Today is the first day I believe that. Three things converged to change my stance from longtime supporter to believer in the possibility of victory. My longtime support comes from Senator Sanders', then Mayor of Burlington, strong friendship with my union in the early 80s. But, even through 2016, while his strength surged beyond anyone's expectations, actual victory seemed a remote thing, and support for Bernie's message did not equate with any lack of enthusiasm on my part for Clinton's campaign against Trump. 
But of course Trumps campaign was the other unexpected surge. A surge that revealed the deep sickness that has overtaken US society, driven and aggravated by the astounding rise in social and economic inequality, both nationally and globally.

The three things:
1. Bernie's campaign has decidedly broadened its base and leadership into a rainbow coalition -- social democratic alliance. In Washington talk his campaign is grabbing his 'left' and millenial base and bringing in the grassroots and some elected officials from the Obama coalition. 
The 'color' of the audiences attending the rallies is looking very rainbow,I can count. The elements of this emerging coalition add up to a MAJORITY of the working classes, men and women,  and of nationally and racially victimized communities.

2.From the Green New Deal to Medicare for All, to Ending Endless Wars, to cleaning our government and democracy of the corruptions that led to Trump -- It will take more than electing a president, and supportive Congress (but AT LEAST that), to match the concentrated power of the enemies of these ideals. A lifetime of experience in the labor movement and the study of revolutions tells me: Do not ever believe a ruling class will surrender its power and wealth simply to a VOTE. Bernie now frames his agenda focused on the theme of JUSTICE -- perhaps another sign he has been re-reading Dr. King. He used is last time too and he has always used "economic justice" in his campaigns, but there seems to be a thematic shift this time -- and itts powerful. The many wounds inflicted over the decades since austerity began have taken a vast toll. It will take an active movement, a revolutionary one in the sense that -- like Dr King --- real mass participation, even sacrifice, will be required. Bernie is telling the truth about this, too, about what the people must face, and do themselves. His political intuition, always extraordinary on the left, IMO, is still improving. The new campaign is more professional. And he is still outdrawing everyone. He can win. And he would bring a movement as powerful as Roosevelt's with him. That gives his program -- which is similar on the surface with some other presidential candidates -- the sense of credibility and potential real power that the same words absent the "movement" cannot sustain.

3.. The centrist position is collapsing. I think Bloomberg's withdrawal was my first strong sense of this. This is a new feature. Brad DeLong (himself a centrist) said it best -- the liberal stance "is collapsing because it needs at least some rational partners in the 'conservative' party to achieve legislative wins. And there are no partners". The Marxist in me argues the political divides are also likely a feature of the class divides that have become bottomless chasms in US society. Middle ground is now becoming the ground of feet planted firmly in mid air.

Trump is becoming, against his own intentions,  Sanders biggest ally. Most of his tweets now are focused on painting all Democrats as just fronts for "socialists" like Sanders and Alexandria Ortiz-Cortez. Yet Every day he also proves, however, that "compromises", or "deals" with barely disguised gangsterism is both impossible and foolish. The rich always think in their "gut" that red-baiting marginalizes the target. That has been the case in past history. But it only works politically if there is a center alternative. In this case IF Trump and his captive Rs tell the public that the only alternative to him/them is Sanders, or an equivalent, and IF Sanders "movement" keeps doing what its doing --- Bernie can Win. The people are not stupid.

John Case
Harpers Ferry, WV
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