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The Long Road

Bernie lost New York State tonight. Or was it stolen? We’re never going to know. But either way, what now? Do Bernie Sanders supporters concede what appears to be the inevitable and get behind Hillary? Do we fight on while we hope for a Clinton Foundation scandal or an FBI indictment? Or maybe we simply work harder, push forward and pray that the Far West takes us home?

I’ve been in Bernie’s corner since I first learned what he stands for. But I’m going to be honest with you cowboys and cowgirls, I’m not sure his nomination is key to the longterm health of our movement. In fact, his loss might be the jet fuel we need to take back our Democratic Party. Let me explain:

  1. Since World War 2, no political party has held the White House for more than eight years. (There are two exceptions to this. The first was George Bush the Senior, who followed the mythic presidency of Ronald Reagan. The second was Al Gore, who followed the mythic presidency of Bill Clinton — Gore clearly never held office but he did win the popular vote.) Therefore, if history assures us of anything, it’s that if the Democrats win the White House this year they will lose it in 2020. That brings us to my second point.
  2. If Bernie won this year and lost in 2020 (or lost the general this year), the Democratic Party establishment would blame that loss on his progressive policies. And that would lock liberals out of power for another half generation. (At best, his win would net us four years to accomplish our goals before our exile. Unworkable.) There’s a third reason a Bernie loss could be a plus.
  3. The GOP ran the table in the 2010 midterms. They took control of state houses across the nation. That control allowed them to redraw district lines with unrighteous precision, which resulted in our current situation, one in which Democrats have to earn 54% of the national vote just to break even in the House of Representatives. (That doesn’t address the massive damage the GOP has done at the state level, where issues from voting rights to a woman’s right to choose have been decimated.) The next redistricting takes place in 2020. And Jesus himself could not generate the degree of excitement necessary to create a wave election during a second term presidential run. That’s not what second term elections are about. And Democrats need a wave election if we’re going to take back the states and redraw those lines.

I began 2008 a Joe Biden supporter. I loved the guy. I still do. But when he fell out and Obama ascended, it was easy to migrate to the senator from Illinois. Losing and shifting allegiance is part of politics, as all of us who love this blood sport know. But this year will be different for me. I won’t shift my allegiance to Hillary. (You can read my reasoning here.) I will, instead, as far as it depends on me, stand my ground to prevent the Clintons from returning their peculiar form of unprincipled money laundering to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I will do this because their loss will deny the conservative wing of the Democratic Party even more power than it has now and will buy those of us on the left four years to invigorate and grow our embryonic movement.

The GOP offers a prime example of how insurgent movements like ours can succeed:

When Barry Goldwater lost his presidential bid in 1964, conservatives dug in and methodically gathered their party’s reigns of power while they waited for the right candidate to come along. That candidate rose through the ranks in 1976. His name was Ronald Reagan. Four years later he was elected to the White House. (His bat shit crazy wing of the GOP controls their party still forty years later.) We liberals find ourselves now in the same position in which Goldwater supporters (of which Hillary was one) found themselves in 1964; we are Insurrectionists striving to overthrow the establishment of the party that abandoned us.

It has been twenty-three years since Bill Clinton was sworn into office as the forty-second President of the United States, twenty-three years since the poor and working classes were robbed of their voice, twenty-three years since the poor and working classes were robbed. It’s time to reassert our power and return to our party the ethical, socially just and effective principles with which Franklin Roosevelt energized Democrats and the nation. We have three years to grow this Revolution from the seedling it is today to the powerhouse it can become. Let’s get to work!