Home | About | Donate

'Not Him... Us': On the Ultimate Meaning of the Bernie Sanders Campaign

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/07/16/not-him-us-ultimate-meaning-bernie-sanders-campaign


On the other hand, it can be argued that Bernie’s role in both 2016 and this year was to sheepdog younger voters into the d-party corral. Except this year, he couldn’t even get those younger voters to the polls to vote for him. I saw that PBS NewsHour interview – nothing new, and it’s all about beating Trump.

And after Trump is gone, we’ll see another round of neoliberal d-party establishment types passing r-party dream legislation. Look for Ukraine to get more arms to fight Russia – let’s call that bill the Schumer-Rubio Fortress Ukraine Compendium Campaign Act (FUCCA) 2021.

Bernie will vote against it. Whoopee.


The campaigns grew out of—and, crucially, helped grow—grassroots movements fighting to transform institutions that are structurally racist, sexist, militaristic and environmentally destructive while serving corporate power and wealthy elites.

and successfully steered them right into a ditch.

by design.

The fraud perpetrated on all those volunteers and hopeful primary voters by the unDemocratic party was as despicable as it was obvious.

What a wretched cabal of corporate-owned, militaristic, security-state run assholes the unDemocratic party is.

Oh, and what a traitor to his followers Bernie Sanders is.


Bernie should not have dropped out - again.


I’m not so sure that the younger voters did not do to the polls. There were hours long lines in some polling places In states where he should have done even better than he did. Who knows how many voters just gave up or had to go to work, voter suppression isn’t limited to just Republicans. Why did the exit polls once again not always match the results?


Your comment brings to mind my own crack-up, many years ago, with local political activism in the form of volunteer work (and I do mean work) for Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), here in legendary “not as corrupt” Richmond, CA. Richmond is a city of long stories, for a long time. I came in at a point where the people of my fair town decided (with RPA’s help) not to rename ourselves to Chevron, CA.

The (apparent) triumph! I thought I’d caught the bug bad, and would never shake it. (CD Commons old-timers might remember my posts about it.) But the logistical details of the work I did with RPA ascended to an overview where it dawned on me: much of this so-called activism consists of keeping each other busy – by design. I come from a more seriously collaborative tradition (like theater) where professionalism means showing respect for other people’s time. I couldn’t play with RPA no more.

But that is not this. This is the Floyd Rebellion now. Much larger than electoral bullshit.

Some guy thinks “slashing the Pentagon” means ten freaking percent? Just sit down, already.


I’m reminded of that other slogan: “Paid for by Bernie. Not the billionaires.” I still see it at the end of his e-mail. For a little while, we thought we could play at the Big Table. How foolish of us. The game was always rigged.

We can stand by our principles or we can vote for Biden. But don’t ask us for any more money, comrade.


And now the award for “the person fighting with the least gusto to investigate if voter suppression was used against Bernie Sanders”…the envelope please…and the winner is…

Bernie Sanders.


I still remember watching the Iowa Caucuses on various live streams. It all seemed fine, various sites were wrapping up. Bernie looked victorious by far. Sad looking Biden supporters tried to convince black Andrew Yang supporters to join them. All the results were being sent in, everyone was expecting a big victory speech by Bernie…Time went on, suddenly there was an official announcement of a …“delay” and basically the delay went on until Iowa didn’t matter any more. Perfect. Bernie sat silent , Iowa sat silent. And now this. “Bill Neidhardt recently served on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 campaign as a national spokesperson and Iowa Deputy State Director. Previously, Neidhardt served as press secretary for Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Neidhardt, now De Blasio’s press secretary.”


Interesting how he had a war chest full of dollars that could have been used to do the investigation and if he had launched an investigation even more dollars would have come in to support the investigation.

Yet, here we are with a person who supposedly idealizes Debs, a man who would have spent time in prison fighting for an investigation, doing absolutely nothing to protect the legitimacy of our vote.

Another thing different about Debs and Sanders, Debs would never in a 100 life times have endorsed the likes of a Biden.


Hi Norm,

To cut to the chase -

  1. As always, your position is kind…sorry if that sounds patronizing, I actually value it, and think it comprehends a lot;

  2. Sanders was a force only so long as he was running/challenging an establishment Democrat;

  3. yet the Debs quote is relevant to this post-primary political period, and, perhaps, to the “ultimate meaning,” or significance, not only of the Sanders-led insurrection, but of your piece - describing the ‘outer limit’ of your thinking.

What I mean is this. The Sanders movement was always divided between soft core and hard core - the left of liberals ready to slip back into the Democratic Party harness and vote for the lesser of two evils, and the left of liberals prepared to shrug off the harness and refuse to support a candidate who failed to offer binding positions in return for their vote.

So the hard core left of liberals are, indeed, now done with Sanders, and in a political wilderness: ridiculed by both establishment liberals and former ‘soft core’ Sanders supporters for refusing to fall in with the establishment Democrat line, they must make a path without leaders, without a movement connected to a greater electorate.

Whether you or Sanders intended it, Debs’ words are a precedent and authority for those homeless progressives to act independently now.


It is not just exit polls that didn’t add up. Sanders consistently raised more money than any of the other candidates from many more donors. It just doesn’t add up that people would contribute money and then not bother to go to the polls. He also had many more volunteers on the ground than any other campaign.

Yet, here we are essentially being told by Sanders himself that all these people contributing and working to get him elected just couldn’t be bothered to go out and vote on election day.

Makes perfect sense and adds up just fine when you consider that next to no ballots were actually counted by actual people. A paper ballot counted by a machine that isn’t even audited is as worthless as a paperless ballot counted by the same machine.


“And after Trump is gone, we’ll see another round of neoliberal d-party establishment types passing r-party dream legislation.”

well,sure, after Trump is gone the NeoLibDNC’ers will HAVE to re-unite the country by passing bi-partisan legislation that rich people of BOTH parties will support.


BINGO! Now who is controlling the machines that will be counting the next election I wonder…


Bernie is the neccessary bridge America needed to grasp and understand how government ownership and socialism more broadly can help Americans. I guarantee you in 20 years if M4A is not completely implemented yet, every major party’s healthcare plan will include a larger role for government. Notice how Trump isn’t campaigning on ‘Repeal and Replace’ Obamacare anymore. Why, because people like high quality, low cost healthcare. The 1% (The Billionaire Class) is left leaning. That doesn’t change the fact that they are ghouls that reap the profits of the workers of this country. ‘Democrat’ and/or ‘Socialist’ are labels. Policy, like what Bernie supports, help workers. Note Europe is quite socialist societal, as is the EU, however labels don’t apply.

Wow – really strong observations by @baska, @1Nall, and @Alan in this thread.

Right the fuck on.

The ultimate message of the Bernie campaign was that you cannot have a “political revolution” in the duopoly and anyone trying to run in the duopoly, no matter their rhetoric, aren’t worth supporting.


The points you bring up are correct, but here’s another one. The Sanders campaign was flush with cash, why weren’t they ready for these problems? Why weren’t they ready to file injunctions for these problems? Why didn’t he call out the discrepancies in the exit polling? It’s not like these were new issues, many of them happened in 2016.


The most obvious meaning of Sanders’ campaigns from '15 into '20 is that the Democratic Party will not allow itself to nominate a progressive presidential candidate, regardless of votes or popularity.

I suppose that does mean that “It’s up to us” in some sense: in the sense that there is no “savior” of the sort that is so tempting to hope for, no individual powerfully placed at a national level in a major party who is poised to be helpful. That person has been weeded out deliberately. Sanders is or was closer than anyone to a last man standing. But that individual does not exist because the system prevents it.

I do not imagine that this is particularly Norman Solomon interpretation, but it strikes me that we do not have an electoral way forward. Do we build one out of the party? Or are we left to more extreme options as the nation girds itself for further destruction?


Laurie Garret’s Betrayal of Trust has a long section about the interaction of public-health collapse with the dissolution of the USSR, or Russia’s decline to desperately miserable conditions for Russians. That’s the approx destination point of the even steeper collapse trajectory USA has entered, imho: People say “third world” status, but USA has been behind much of the world in basic health metrics for years, on our way to international pariah status.

For instance: How many USA military in Okinawa have brought COVID-19 to the island? How many in Germany and France? Where are USA military allowed to fly in bypassing sovereign airport management? Some serious questions totally up in the air no matter who or what, at this point.