Sen. Bernie Sanders initially began running for president, his hope was
to “trigger the conversation” about the way the economic and political
system is rigged by the billionaires and their corporations. He wanted
to begin a movement around a vision of how the country could be run for
We the People instead of a few billionaires and their giant
corporations, and give that movement momentum.
That was the
idea; start a movement out of a campaign that could get a
“for-the-people” message out. All the people he brought in would take it
that would prompt Sanders to contemplate not running were clear and
compelling. Sanders wasn’t going to be getting the huge-dollar donations
that keep so many other candidates going. He might not be able to get
the resources to travel to and have rallies in enough of the primary
states to be heard at all, and might not meet the threshold for getting
into the presidential primary debates. The risk was that he might get
whipped so badly that people would for decades run from the idea of
running for office on Sanders’ progressive themes.
Nonetheless, Sanders decided to run and spoke his message. Then BANG, look what started happening. On the first day after announcing his campaign he raised $1.5 million in small-donor campaign donations. In just two months he raised $15 million.
Sanders didn’t know was that he was bringing a match to a gasoline
convention. With huge rallies and huge enthusiasm, in just a short time
he is leading (as of Friday) in two out of three recent polls in New Hampshire, the only state other than Vermont where he has real name recognition.
game has shifted. People realized that Sanders is more than a fringe
candidate. He could plausibly win the nomination.
But as we talk about Sanders “winning,” here is the thing: He HAS won.
to be actually talking about him being the nominee and all that. But
whether he is or not, the discussion Sanders wanted HAS been triggered,
and an amazing list of supporters now exists. Now there is the hope that
he and we can build a movement out of it that lasts past this election.
the Democratic nominee, we will all need to work on making sure an
anti-immigrant, anti-Social Security, pro-billionaire, pro-hate
candidate doesn’t get elected president and destroy the country. Look
back at the ‘W’ Bush legacy of a country almost destroyed.
Financial collapse, war, how many lives gone? This new “Trump” GOP is
now much, much worse than the Bush era – regardless of which
billionaire-backed (or billionaire) candidate they nominate.
progressive populist uprising is also happening in the United Kingdom,
with Jeremy Corbyn running to lead the Labour Party. The Labour party
had drifted so far to the right that they apologized for spending money on public needs
and are supporting austerity measures. Corbyn says that the UK needs to
go back to being the real Labour party, and has called for renationalizing
the railroads, energy companies and other privatized services so the
people benefit instead of thew already-wealthy few. Then – BANG! – he
went to the top of the polls. So many people (lots of them young)
started signing up to join the Labour Party that the Tony Blair wing of
the party is trying to stop new people
from being allowed to join! What’s being called “feeling the Bern,” and
the establishment reaction, is not just a U.S. phenomenon.
On one level, at
least, Bernie Sanders has already won. Fixing our country’s problems is
not just about electing a president. Billionaire money has taken over
many statehouses – where they gerrymander the districts to keep
themselves in power. Sanders likes to say that there are two primary
sources of power, “organized people and organized money,” and that when
people across lines of race, gender, class, nationality, and sexual
orientation reject right-wing wedge politics and come together, “there
is nothing, nothing, nothing that we cannot accomplish.”
Irrespective of the results of the primaries, We the People need to take it from here.
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