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Sanders Redux: Think Twice Before You Feel the Bern Again

During the 2016 Democratic primary season, I was one of the many “regular Americans” who donated $27 to the campaign of Bernie Sanders. Inspired by his uncompromising defense of the “disappearing middle class,” and hopeful that the enthusiasm at his rallies would make a difference at the polls, I really did believe—for the first time in a long time—that America had a “future to believe in.”

As the 2016 season progressed, I watched in horror as people around the country live-streamed proof of ethically questionable behavior run amok—crate-loads of uncounted paper ballots, tales of purged voter rolls, and footage of Bill Clinton talking to voters at the polls in Massachusetts. All the while, CNN intentionally included Superdelegates in early results to make it seem like a vote for Bernie Sanders was an exercise in futility. As it turned out—it was!

Like many of you, I witnessed all of this—not in the mainstream media—but in a “free press” that seems to exist now only online, and thanks to an army of dedicated citizen journalists. I was a voter who had started the season as someone who said she would vote for Clinton in the general if she won the primary, and ended it by saying “Ah hell, naw!” Although I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Trump, I knew full well what the risks were should I choose to cast a vote for Jill Stein—and that’s exactly what I did. What’s more, I would do it again today. We don’t just vote to win—we vote to speak. So now you know—I was full on Bernie or Bust. I rejected my bully’s ultimatum to vote for Clinton “or else.” That said, Bernie or Bust was never a lifetime vow.

The world has changed in the last 3 years. Independent voices in the media have been silenced through demonetization and deplatforming. Since the mainstream media (minus Fox News) now functions as the public relations arm of the Democratic Party, how can we trust it when Bernie Sanders is greenlighted as the acceptable rebel? Why aren’t they terrified of him the way they were in 2016?  Is Bernie “compromised,” or is he simply tired?

Although hardly a media darling, it seems obvious to me that the Democratic establishment considers the “Sanders threat” to be greatly diminished. They know their base of Clinton supporters—coupled with traditional #nevertrump Republicans who won’t have a Republican primary to vote in next year—will show up at the polls next November, and rally around their shared commitment to more war and tax cuts for the wealthy. They also know that in the last 3 years, Bernie Sanders has alienated some of his original base.

What kind of a revolution embraces the very same establishment it’s supposed to be revolting against?

In 2019, it troubles me that so few of Sanders’ supporters are questioning his propagation of Russia hysteria and his weak stance on Venezuela. Look, the DNC is crooked, but they’re not stupid. I suspect that he has a platform now because either 1) He has assured them—either intentionally or unintentionally—that he can be controlled or 2) They are using him—maybe even supporting him behind the scenes—to detract from the candidate they see as this season’s real threat: Tulsi Gabbard.

If Kamala Harris is the candidate who will go up against a formidable progressive in the final phase of this primary election, they would much rather she face an old white man with a reputation as a “divider.” With a Harris vs. Sanders contest looming, we would never see the end of Harris staring down Kavanaugh in court. The skin-deep/waist-down similarities between Harris and AOC would be highlighted ad nauseum, the imagery would be striking, an “old white male” going up against a “young minority woman” would be hard for Bernie to overcome.

Rest assured, Dem elites know that If the Democratic primary contest were between two non-white  female candidates, the spotlight would shine too brightly on Harris’ shortcomings on the issues. They are very much looking forward to making identity politics a central theme of their political theatre. Why? Because it’s easy, and it will insure that disingenuous politicians can continue to evade the tough questions about war, health care, jobs and infrastructure. As cult-hero Sanders would say: “Make no mistake”—the new “party of war” does not want their status quo candidate facing off with an Iraq war veteran who speaks out against regime-change.

Indeed, is it not reasonable to suspect that they’d put up any barrier to keep Tulsi Gabbard off that debate stage—including propping up their old enemy Bernie Sanders, as a spoiler? Although Sanders devotees will preach a Sanders/Gabbard “dream ticket,” it won’t get that far if the two candidates split the progressive vote. The end result could be a repeat of 2106. Click To Tweet

*Editor’s note: this piece was submitted to the us as a contribution article from a guest writer. There was a lot of deliberation that went into whether or not to publish this article for two reasons: 1) with rare exception, we require pictures and profile links so that our readers can ascertain the credibility of the writers here at the Ghion Journal. Due to the nature of Abigail’s work, she requested that her picture be pixalated. 2) as stipulated in our Submission Guidelines, we do not accept articles that push political parties or personalities . There are a lot of other resources for people who want that type of slanted journalism. However, in this case, because Abigail’s analysis sheds light on the machinations of our political system a lot more than it does push a particular ideology, we decided to publish this article as an exception. 

Abigail Randolph
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Abigail Randolph

Abigail Randolph holds two humanities degrees from state universities in Texas. Trained as a journalist but plagued by innumeracy, she will never “learn to code.” A single Mom, she currently works as a secondary school educator in Austin & will die before paying off her student loans. She is a recovering former Democrat.
Abigail Randolph
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