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Bernie Sanders and Our Winter of Progressive Discontent

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/12/14/bernie-sanders-and-our-winter-progressive-discontent

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Nothing is going to change with the DNC until large numbers of progressives start writing regularly to their representatives in congress to complain. It is the only way things will change. It will take a sustained effort to put enough pressure on Democrats to get any meaningful progress on any issue. As long as people don’t engage their representatives, we will see the same old status quo. Here is a letter I just wrote to my reps on M4A. Feel free to personalize it and send it to your representatives.

Congressman Trone,

As you are well aware, the CBO just released a report showing that Medicare for All would provide coverage for all Americans, while also costing the country $650 billion dollars less per year.

Claims that we cannot afford to cover all American’s health care costs are therefore totally false. The only problem is that the health insurance industry, which acts like a parasite on our healthcare system, does not want to lose their profits.

Medicare for All would have prevented millions of unnecessary deaths over the last 30 years since Bill Clinton became president. I hold the Democrats responsible for the lack of progress, because the Republicans would never enact universal health coverage. Apparently, the Democrats are not the opposition party, but rather, are complicit in making sure that Americans are saddled with this expensive, exclusionary system that leaves so many people without coverage. This is especially inexcusable during a pandemic.

The health insurance industry donates generously to both Republican and Democrat representatives, and it appears to be on a fee for service basis for both parties.

For many years we have had “death panels” overseeing our healthcare system, and those death panels are known as private health insurance companies. We will never know how many people died prematurely over the last 30 years due to denied coverage. What we do know is that covering all Americans will save lives, and save money. Please support robust Medicare for All legislation. You will be very popular with everyone but the health insurance companies and their lobbyists. You will also help save many lives.

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While the corporate media makes it look like Trump invented quid pro quo, medical industrial complex (MIC) and military industrial media infotainment complex (MIMIC) ownership of the Democratic Party (and GOP) confirm that quid pro quo has been alive and well going back to Saint Ron ascending the throne and the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) formation during the 1980s.

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The only answer is to create a new Progressive Party (or an Independent Party that is progressive) and split the democratic party, period. Neolibs vs progressives. A good percentage of the working class that voted for Trump (and previously Obama) will move to progressives, once, and only once, they put forth a platform “of the people.” If the democratic party splits, neolibs will never see the higher levels of power again and for that good riddance. Otherwise nothing will change and the democratic party will continue to be run by a small club of ruling elites and their ilk that don’t give a flip about anyone else.

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Why the surprise? This is what “Blue No Matter Who” gets you, when you promise your vote, with nothing conceded. Those on this site were warned, yet demonized those of us who did the warning.

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Yes – A Peoples Party is the only way that meaningful change will come. The DNC as expected are cynically throwing progressives “under the bus”. Time to shake up their cozy pact with the neo-liberals, who are essentially conservatives - though liberal on the peripheral social issues.

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The Democrats may be successful short term but if Biden/Harris are just more of the same in a nation reeling from the aftermath of Trump and the pandemic their success may be short lived. As a progressive who has always voted for Democrats I will be unlikely willing to vote for Biden/Harris again or any other of the Clinton/Obama cronies. Voting for Obama and his poor performance shame on him. Voting for HRC, not productive and shame on me. Vote for Biden, shame on me. Not going to be ashamed again for voting for another neolib Democrat. I’m old and don’t expect our nation to be in good shape for the rest of my life. Truly sad about the state of our nation and our politics.

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Bernie Sanders was the catalyst for galvanizing the grassroots progressive power that propelled his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns.

Bernie Sanders was the catalyst for neutering the grassroots progressive power that propelled his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. As Bruce A Dixon wrote way back in 2015, Sanders has always been the DNC’s sheepdog, herding the lambs for the slaughter.

His deep analysis, tenacity, eloquence and bold actions created new pathways. As this century enters its third decade, the torch needs to be grasped by others to lead the way.

Sanders shallow analyses, always avoiding the needed protest against both filthy wings of the Duopoly, created zero new pathways. As the century enters its third decade, the torch will have to be be passed to new sheepdogs, such as AOC. So that sellouts such as the author can continue to collect a paycheck for shoveling steaming piles of Lesser Evil hokum, DNC Division.

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But Norm, don’t you remember Bernie saying: “Joe is my
friend” and with friends like that the Left is left in the dark.

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Exactly!! The unDemocratic Party is too far gone and will never again be “the party of the people”. And no letter writing campaign is going to turn the unDemocratic Party around. The evidence from just their conduct in 2020 makes it overwhelmingly clear that they’re irrevocably joined at the hip to big money and that they simply will never again represent the best interests of the people at large.

The Movement for a People’s Party has just recently been registered as a political party in it’s first state. Don’t look now but the good folks in the State of Maine are kicking all of our butts, first with ranked choice voting and now the first state to register the People’s Party. Once fully known and its policy agenda understood, the Party will draw progressives and others who simply want their children and grandchildren to have a decent shot at a reasonably secure life.

Progressives, it’s important to understand that the only force really holding back the People’s Party or something like it is you. If you support it, it will thrive. Bernie Sanders proved it beyond any doubt. And if you don’t support it, instead investing further in the unDemocratic Party, we’ll have more of the same. Sanders proved that, too.

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I will use your well-written letter–thank you! Hopefully, others will also!

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Progressives in the Democratic Party be like: We’ll get them next time!

Of course, they have been saying that since 1968. The truth is, you cannot reform organized crime. You form a new third party instead.

PeoplesParty D O T org

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I could read this without a NYT subscription, so I will assume anyone can. ~https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/11/opinion/politicians-voters.html

When you write your letter, be sure to send a very big check along with it and you may get a response from a staffer…

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Senator Sanders is unlikely to have the leverage or inclination to lead the fight.

@NormanSolomon, do you have any influence with anyone in the Bernie camp? Your position which I don’t think is in danger of changing is to fight hard in the primary, no matter what the offenses are of the neoliberals - vote for them in the general when they win the primary, hold the neoliberal’s feet to the fire if they win.

Well, what fire do you have in mind? Do we just publish as many criticism pieces as possible (some of which, like the one from Erin Brockovich, I really liked and found invaluable)? Or do we demand progressive democrats or independents like Bernie announce that they will vote NO on the worst of Biden’s appointments. Because we are having no luck with fire on the neoliberals - maybe fire on progressive democrats can work? You better think of something, because your cachet on this site is not looking great.

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This attempt at creating a hagiography around Sanders is typical democrat marketing

deceitfulness.

Sanders’ “tenacity” and “bold actions” included helping guarantee the nomination of

Hillary Clinton by NOT focusing on her multilayered corruptions during the campaign of 2016

while it became increasingly exposed that the DNC had rigged the election against him.

In 2020, he quickly abandoned his supporters when AGAIN it became obvious that his

beloved democrat hucksters were working to shut out his supporters’ priorities.

The man may have once upon a time had some backbone, but he made himself into a

sell-out for the very things he mouths words to give the impression that he cares about.

He is a rug which makes sounds and we are supposed to swallow the notion that he

achieved something great by allowing his supporters’ priorities to be swept aside -

repeatedly.

What drivel!

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Thanks for the link. Impressive site.

`https://peoplesparty.org/

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Glad to see your line of thinking, and welcome!

But I humbly submit to you that there is no ‘if’ about it - Biden/Harris will and can only be a more of the same - of the Obama/Biden, Bush/Cheney and Clinton/Gore years that precede them (with a side dish of Trump/Pence in certain areas.) Because these parties have effectively merged, and the Ds are right now showing us that there is no hope in their party for systemic change.

At some point we have to walk away from our abusers, and I believe that time has come, while the very real example of our best shot at affecting change through the D party - a candidate of integrity and high visibility such as Senator Sanders - showed itself to be a fool’s errand. The Ds destroyed Bernie and removed his narrative form the airwaves. Deliberately. Twice in a row. What more do we need to see?

Leave the Ds and join the People’s Party (or the Greens, or any party with a platform you would like to see come to fruition.) Force the Ds to merge publicly with the GOP to survive, which they have already done in practice. A third party will lose at first, surely, and ensure a few GOP victories. But with a mass of people ready to exit the D party, it might take very few election cycles indeed to change things dramatically, if only we can summon the courage to take the punches our corporate overlords (including 99% of Congress) will throw our way.

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Lol. Exactly. You cannot simultaneously play by the rules of the insiders (and shame those who won’t) and claim to be working on behalf of the outsiders.

If Mr. Solomon wanted to do anything other than appear progressive, he would dump the Dems and give full-throated support to the People’s Party - or any party that refuses to bend to the ‘reasonable insiders,’ as he shamed us all into doing this year and in 2016. He should know by now that the situation we find ourselves in after 40+ years of neo-liberal (mis)rule was the Dems’ plan all along. Why he continues to pretend we can change them - at the time when their policies are making them richer and more powerful than ever - is beyond me.

Crumbs and brunch, folks. That’s all the Dems have on offer. Tired of it yet?

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It is kind of amazing to see Norman Solomon, of all people, go through the details here and not put two and two together to make four. Perhaps he really imagines that Joe Biden will reward the Sanders contingent rather than the influential people who appointed him candidate. Maybe he imagines that such people do not check to see that their candidates’ promises get fulfilled.

Of course Bernie Sanders is in a bad position politically; of course Joe Biden pays no attention to him. But this is because Sanders stumps for him, not despite it. You’re not holding any fire to Biden’s feet: you handed him the electoral matches. Sanders will not “go to the mat” with BIden: he stumped for him. So yes, it is a pretty good bet that Biden knows that.

What are the odds that the Republicans run a candidate not objectionable to progressive Democrats in 2024? That is all it takes to assure that progressive Democrats vote Biden-Harris in '24, and with the endorsement of Bernie Sanders and LIz Warren and AOC and Chomsky and Ellsberg and so forth–if we are so blessed as to have everybody back again in four years.

That being the case, the possible rivers of option for people who would “go to the mat” might usefully be subdivided into two. Either you begin locally to organize an actual progressive or left or people’s party, whether it is an existing party or a new organization, or you work outside the electoral system by revolution or protest or monkeywrenching or large differences in lifestyle or some combination of the above. Leaving metaphors aside, “feet to the fire” involves either voting differently or not working where or as you worked or purchasing where or as you purchased or something that threatens the ecology of hegemony. “Letters to congresspeople” are good but not nearly adequate. They do not get even the purchase that they did in an era when they could not be copy-and-pasted or duplicated easily. You need some removal of cooperation with the rampant hierarchy.

If you support Joe Biden and succeed, as Norman Solomon and many others whom I take to be sincere just did, you get a Joe Biden cabinet, Joe Biden policies, and so forth. You get them, in the main, even if Biden’s aneurysm completes itself in his first year in office and Harris carries out the term. I am tired of tossing blame back and forth and happy to see Solomon complaining about his president proactively. And I have nothing against compromise; you just do not get the compromise by supporting the opposition. All of this surprise that Biden does as Biden is and has been comes across as disingenuous, though I suppose there is much of rhetorical gesture in most of it.

But let’s get real: we oppose Biden and his funders, and he knows it, whoever else does or does not. There’s no point waiting for favors here.

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Progressives have no representation in the US government. nor the Democratic party. They will get none until they begin withholding their money, support and votes from Democratic candidates.

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