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Sanders' Success: Democratic Socialism Goes Mainstream


Sanders' Success: Democratic Socialism Goes Mainstream

Roger Bybee

Hillary Clinton’s capture of the Democratic presidential nomination—an historic milestone for women—should not obscure the significant long-term opportunities created by democratic socialist Bernie Sanders’s sustained and scorching attack on a “rigged” economy and an increasingly undemocratic political system.


Almost unforgivably optimistic. Why all of this on and on to convince us that everything is just fine? The rigged economy dismissed Sanders despite a popular vote that stood to be in his favor. Sanders may manage to retain some validity despite caving into the (un)Democratic Party, but why are we to imagine that his attempts will not be subject to the same purges that removed honest progressives from the party before him, from 2007 until 2015, when only Sanders, from outside the party and with his own independent apparat, remained to represent the popular issues of rank and file party members?

As Sanders folds into the party, his support splits in two. Likely that would be as true were he to run outside. But half of Sanders' support in one place outside of the party would make an impact. It remains to be seen how Sanders even intends to within a party that has unmoored itself from its voters.

No, the optimism that is merited is not that socialism has operated within the Democratic Party, but that it has a hold in the population, and that element of the population may find its own way.


Within 30 years of its 1985 founding, the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) turned the Party into a multi-billion dollar organization. Nominating Sanders would likely result in drying up most or all of the billions of corporate dollars that flow into the Party war chest each year.

Billion dollar organizations do not willingly give up most of their revenue.


1) IMO it is premature to conclude that Sanders will "cave] into the (un)Democratic Party."

2) "Half of Sanders' support in one place outside of the party would make an impact."

Yes, it would. And that is why I am hoping - as I and some others have posted many times - that Sanders's voters will themselves charge him with demanding the democratization of Party rules and binding commitments to progressive short lists of cabinet appointments. If half of Sanders's support held firm, the Party might find itself in a position where it was publicly forced to choose between formally negotiating w/its progressive half or being responsible for its loss of power.


" A large share of Clinton supporters would welcome the injection of youthful energy and a strongly progressive program popularized by Sanders."

Not happening. They are following their "leader," who is hoping to dismiss us ASAP.


Baska, I hope you're right and that I am jumping the gun. I am concluding from his initial statements Sunday. May there be more to them than I have divined. It sure looks bad from here.


Neither the Democrats or Republicans will enact any laws (changes) that will diminish or redistribute the income or wealth of the elite ruling class to the working class. Congress, as the legislative member of the state, is merely a tool that the ruling class utilizes to rule. I think it is quite obvious, especially since the onslaught of neo-liberalism, whose interests Congress protects.

This article made a reference to Noam Chomsky. I think the following quote from Chomsky is relevant to the issue(s) of this article:

“How it is we have so much information, but know so little?”
Noam Chomsky


You lost me at "Hillary Clinton's capture of the Democratic presidential nomination." The only capture we've seen here is the corporate media's capture of the attention of multitudes of Americans who gladly accept blatant falsehoods and crude manipulation for honest news from the front lines.


To tell the truth, I can imagine it either way.

And yet - even supposing a more progressive Party platform or VP pick - it seems unthinkable...too antithetical to the meaning of the movement, too great a destructive impact on supporters, too much a violation of his integrity. Which he must know.

From another perspective, if we assume he will fold, it closes off action over these next months - overt demands that Sanders be not just a leader, but the servant of our political will. Which - not incidentally - would strengthen his power to demand.


I don't think that the assumption does close off action, Baska, but quite the opposite--at least if it is accurate. But that is probably because I don't find that it demands that Sanders solve the problem, but the reverse. Don't get me wrong: I'd love to see him play a part in solving it, and I admire his success and the success of his organization to this point. I have underestimated him more than once already, and I would love to be wrong again. Still, there are a few points:

  1. VP pick. Sanders as HC's VP? No way. It would be like making him hall monitor in Siberia. There is really almost no commonality. I am disappointed that Warren has been so apparently friendly to the involvement with Clinton. But for Sanders or his supporters, this would be a dead loss.
    2) Mpre progressive party platform. .Why or how would this happen? Clinton has no wish to be even as progressive as she has claimed to be. She has not been, her financiers do not wish it, and it would be inconsistent with her military position. She might do some nice-girl stuff with respect to genders and whatnot: these things are important, of course, but they are ephemeral with respect to power politics, power finance, central control, and the sort of things that interest Goldman Sachs, the IMF and backers, et alia. As soon as Bernie is out of the running, Clinton's policy is only viewed in comparison with Donald Trump, who has yet to express a coherent policy.
  2. If we assume that he will fold--and not entirely. He may go back to Vermont and do progressive things--then it means that we have to act otherwise. We have to vote for a third party and--more importantly, it seems to me--act outside of the broken electoral system.
    If we assume that Bernie will solve the problems and he does not because he cannot, what then? This seems to me at this point an almost certain scenario. I have no intention of denigrating Sanders here, but the party stole his nomination, and he has said that he will work with them to stop Trump. What does that leave but Clinton? Offhand, I'd say that's a big gooseegg zero.

Now, the one thing that I can conceive that might change that assessment is something about this business of pushing for local election victories. So far that sounds like an excellent idea to me, just the sort of thing that must be done. I just do not see how it is to be done inside of a grossly plutarchic and top-heavy Democratic Party with seriously criminal leaders who are actually in office, with considerable influence over the extra-constitutional and extrajudicial apparatus of the black ops community--and let's put Clinton right at the forefront of that. It seems to me that the failure of that idea in that form has just been demonstrated with the theft of the nomination--but you know, Sanders is nothing if not shrewd. Maybe he sees a path. I do not, not that direction.


This article expresses why I will not vote for Hillary Clinton. http:www.theweek.com/articles/629193/stop-telling-excited-about-Hillary-Clinton. It shouldn't be about 'the woman' it should be about the candidate.


Indeed. The establishment certainly doesn't want socialism, even democracy and will do everything they can to stop Bernie and the progressive movement. They only allowed Bernie to run initially because they thought as a 74 year old socialist, he had zero chance, giving Hillary her coronation.


Sanders has over 12,000,000 votes and counting, and that doesn't include the potential of the percentage that was turned away at the polls. I would like to hear Sanders say that he'll be taking Jill Stein's offer and joining the Green Party to run for POTUS. That may be a wild thought on my part, but I Believe it has potential. I already plan on moving in that direction with support and vote, should Sanders not be the nominee. Many of Sanders supporters already have the knowledge of canvassing, fund raising and interacting with the voters as well as a strong will to succeed that would be necessary to get the Green Party on all 50 State ballots. To build on a Party that carries many of our same views is doable and we could overcome in This election. Let's, at least, ponder that possibility.


Thanks for a searching, civil, reasoned reply.

Just a few things.

Of course you are right that it does not close off all action, just points in other directions.

Re VP, I was thinking of Warren, who has been hinted at as possible, not Sanders.

As to why Democrats could allow a more progressive platform - because it is nonbinding, yet can be waved around to peel off Sanders support? 'See what big tent folks we are and how we've compromised, so now you must vote for us'?


Hillary Clinton’s capture of the Democratic presidential nomination—an historic milestone for women—

A historic milestone for women? Good grief; women have been Queens of the UK going back to at least "Empress" Matilda in the late 1100s. And if they weren't reigning in their absolute right, they were telling the King what to do in no uncertain terms.


Warren does seem like a natural VP choice, and I don't see a close second. I'd say it's a winning move for Clinton: she cements in the feminists and brings across a lot of Sanders' people, since Warren has done very high profile good work on the econ front. And Warren may not realize how thoroughly she is apt to be neutralized under Clinton with no specific authority. And Warren's foreign policy is really not good, so she probably does not appreciate the major problems with a draconian Clinton presidency. It's a pity if she takes it, but she probably will.

You describe the way a compromise might take place; I just do not see it having any substance unless the threat is substantial. Another progressive org within the party is something Clinton could better and more easily attend to after the election, so I don't think there's a threat there. IF Bernie can threaten to run Green or even endorse Stein, that would be something. I think Clinton offers the veepship to Warren without it costing her much, maybe she has to come out for a revised Glass-Steagall, though that would depend on pressure from Donald Trump, of all people.

But I strongly suspect that Bernie has long ago promised away his option for a third party ticket, and the wonderful run within the Democratic Party was somewhat of a trap, though he shook the trap harder than much of anyone could have imagined. No, I think we are looking at a Clinton win in November with a hard right-wing government to follow, pushing wars and aggression across the globe, further spiking the divide between rich and poor, and creating a pretense of legitimacy comprised more of violence and less of pretense of right.

And this sounds like a rhetorical question, but it is not: how is Sanders' progressive group going to function within the party, with Clinton and the DNC controlling funds and votes, gerrymandering districts against the party left, and apparently making heavier threats as well.

I don't know, honestly. It seems to me that you go outside of that organization.


These are strong arguments, and I cannot simply disagree with you - indeed, they express half my thinking.

I would only clarify one point: if, by "compromise" you mean the DNC might negotiate a semi-progressive party platform - my point was that this was no compromise at all because it would be nonbinding. Same goes - as you note - for Warren.


Yeah. I think that's what we're left with. I'll want a good look at what Sanders does with his organization, but it looks like I'm Green again.


It's a wild thought but a good one, Antidote. The trouble is only that per his announcements, most importantly those from Sunday on, he will not do that. I think that leaves us scrambling.