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Why Sanders Supporters Should Not Let Democratic Primary Demoralize Them


Why Sanders Supporters Should Not Let Democratic Primary Demoralize Them

Kevin Gosztola

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was expected to do very well in the five primaries on April 26, but after the results, Bernie Sanders and his supporters face a critical moment in the election as the campaign fights for every possible delegate on the way to the convention.

Clinton won Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware decisively. She also eked out a win in Connecticut. She lost in Rhode Island, which was the only state with an open primary that allowed independents to vote for Sanders without affiliating with the Democratic Party.


"That is why focusing on influencing the Democratic Party’s platform at the convention in July may be best."

The platform is essentially meaningless. The party can put anything it wants in the document. They are not bound to govern based on it. Hillary Clinton would not even be bound to campaign on it.

Fighting for what goes in the platform is a symbolic fight. The fight itself is not completely unimportant. Symbolism is important. But, Sanders' supporters want more than symbolism.


I just watched "Democracy Now" and it's fascinating to hear a Clinton supporter. They support her due to a VERY narrow focus. There is zero interest in, awareness of, or understanding regarding the following:

"Between 2013 and 2015, after Clinton left the position of secretary of state, she gave 82 paid or sponsored speeches to 82 corporations, trade associations, and other groups, who actively seek to sway government. She has ties to financial firms, including vulture capitalists, which are responsible for the severe economic destruction in Puerto Rico. Clinton refuses to release transcripts of her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs. Clinton also supports regime change as a policy, which has had devastating consequences in Libya, Syria, and Iraq. She is supported by pro-Israel mega-donor Haim Saban, the Democrats’ Sheldon Adelson, and can barely bring herself to talk about the Palestinians as if they are human beings. Plus, Clinton insists the military coup in Honduras “followed the constitution” and abided by legal precedent."

Gary Johnson was interviewed and mentioned an online quiz which is exactly what I had suggested to this forum: that rather than picking a candidate, the individual fills out a list defining their positions on different policies and subjects. The computer then matches them with the candidate who most closely approximates those positions.

Also, Johnson has managed to get on all state ballots AS a Libertarian. He, too, spoke of the obstacles to being seen in televised debates, and how that absence of visibility means he cannot reach beyond a small threshold of support. (That would be the same problem for Jill Stein.)

The system DOES foreclose against any alternative to itself. And Hillary could not be more of an insider.


I agree with you. Let me clarify my point: The reason why it is okay if the next leg of the campaign is about the platform is because voters will support making the platform reflect the ideas championed by Sanders campaign and still vote for Sanders. It does not require one to cede ground to Clinton. Voters basically accept she's the inevitable nominee but have a way of rejecting her politics.


Fair enough. Though I honestly don't see why Sanders needs to change anything he's doing. If the media and the DNC pester him about staying in, then in the race then in my opinion he needs to say nothing more than something to the effect of "My donors and voters want me to keep championing their cause. If Secretary Clinton would like me to stop, then it is incumbent on her to convince my voters that they should support her. Regardless of whether she thinks she needs to enthrall them, she should recognize that I'm not Boss Tweed. I can't deliver voters to her on a platter. She has to reach them." Or something like that except in Bernie language.


I can't recall the political strategist, it might have even been Frank Luntz or Karl Rove... but what they pointed out was the tactical weakness of acting ON the Defensive.

When Sanders defends himself against the Establishment Chorus insisting that he bow out, it weakens him.

It's always stronger to mark one's own turf on AFFIRMATIVE ground.

Instead of giving voice to his opponents, which reinforces their challenge (as George Lakoff points out), he needs to stand firm on his own platforms. THAT is what has drawn all the support.

If he wished to go on the counter-attack, he could point out in patriotic terms how important FAIRNESS is to the American people; and that if Democracy is to mean what it purports to mean, then all of the tricks used to block legitimate voters from weighing in on this important election (and its honestly selected candidates) need to not just be called out, but remedied.

An insistence on open voting that allows in independents should become the first Tier.

The point is, Mrs. Clinton's lead has largely been gotten by 3 completely unfair advantages (which TAINT the outcome):

  1. The mass media's insistence that the throne is hers and that Bernie is just a pesky outsider... who could NEVER win
  2. The many states that close Independents out of these vote counts
  3. The use of super-delegates to arguably override the majority public's actual choice

If these 3 "items" remain in play and are locked in and treated as legitimate, then it's time to give up the Democracy label once and for all... and call it what it is, A "Reality Election Show." All show, and no substance...

MILLIONS of us are tired of politicians whose only form of foreign policy is dropping bombs or rationalizing some reason to KILL other people!

It's enough!

Earth Mother is writhing in agony and the Earth Changes are truly escalating.

As Yogananda pointed out to a United Nations assembly back in l949, there is a DIRECT correlation between organized forms of human violence and imbalances to the earth's "etheric" field. It is that field that holds things in balance. When it's violently disrupted, violent responses follow... in terms of earth's LIVING geology.

There were 5 earthquakes over 6.2 (on the Richter Scale) the past week.


Of course the irony of the criticisms of the voting process, such as in New York, where people choose not to vote in the major party primaries by registering as independents or for third parties such a the Working Families Party or Conservative Party, is that the most undemocratic aspect of the voting is the caucases where Sanders has done so well. The caucases disenfranchise far many voters than any primary state and in some cases they lead to conventions at higher levels until the delegates are finally chosen. Hillary Clinton has hardly won any caucases yet has not complained at all about them even though they strongly favor Sanders. She also lost badly to Obama in the caucases which is a big reason why she didn't win in 2008. The fact is both Sanders and Clinton knew the rules going in. Clinton tried to organize for the caucases much better than she did in 2008 but it didn't help much as only the most activist type of voters seem to attend caucases. The Sanders campaign knew months ahead of time the people registered as independents or for third parties could not vote in the closed primaries yet did nothing to inform these people about the deadlines for switching. One drawback of running for president for the first time is that it is hard to anticipate problems.


Its crazy- turn on corporate media today and it is still all Trump and Cruz naming a VP. Donald Trump has won this nomination-Cruz is 500 delegates behind-Trump only needs about 300 to be over the top.

On the democrat side Sanders is behind about 250 delegates-and Clinton needs about 800 pledged delegates to put her over the top????

Yet next to no mention of Sanders?????

Sanders was talking about independents who have been locked out from voting-Sanders has run and won as an independent- I think the only thing holding him back is getting his name on all the ballots.


Your anti-Sanders posts have gotten a lot blander.

Here you're just blaming him for bad campaigning and saying Hillary didn't complain about caucuses.

What, your bosses think you were getting too much kickback on your over-the-top anti-Sanders posts?


Yes, Bernie owes the Democratic Party nothing. Let Hillary fight for votes. Let the Democratic Party figure out how to beat Trump if they aren't going to go with the candidate who has the best favorability in their primary, including when polled against Trump.


We are all la little demoralized regarding Bernie's dilemma. He's the best candidate for the country, he has the best chance of beating Trump, but many of the voters who support him can't register their approval. Kevin's piece lends needed encouragement to a difficult and unfair fight. I have made periodic financial contributions to the effort, but lately I've been holding back due to the futility of it all. Thanks to Kevin and other Sandernistas on Common Dreams and elsewhere, and thanks to Bernie's tireless persistence, I've gotten my second wind. It's now or perhaps never and I'll not waiver again. Bernie or bust!


Good for you. We need to encourage everybody on this site (if not here, where?) to do all that you can to help Bernie...ALL IS NOT LOST and could be won if we stick with the program. Anyone who can do phone banking and who can give any money should do what they can. I've done phone banking for Bernie and it is quite easy and rather fun. Let me thank in advance anybody who decides to do at least one thing to help Bernie's campaign when he needs it the most!


If one believes, as I do, that Bernie is the greatest hope for our Democracy to finally work, at last, for We the People, then one must acknowledge that no one is attempting to prevent that from happening, right now, more than Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party Machine itself.


I'm with Skippy, Sing, and Bliss here, and through a 4th Frame: the movement of movements--for a new society of integrity, rooted in the ancient promise of humanity and Earth's bounty--can only happen when we create it. Sanders' campaign still provides one powerful means of exercising our voices for real change, no matter what happens with the votes. If this campaign pulls off more coups, then it could still produce a president Sanders. If this campaign doesn't produce that, but shows more strength even in the face of defeat, that also resonates through the mass consciousness. Yeah, samsara is deeply rigged. And some are suffering a hell of a lot more than me. But that means I have an incredible opportunity to act for all of our benefit by speaking for compassionate truth: saying we should have leadership that reflects the democratic will of the majority on matters of health and our dependence on nature, on matters of economics and peace. We can change: stop preying upon our fellow Earth species (in many ways, but including: go vegan!); see how greed offers actually nothing good and only horrendous pain and misery for all, while giving and sharing give us unimaginable abundance; notice the riches available in every breath, in every moment of awakened peace. Like Dando taught Amira in The Red Pencil, "What else is possible?"


Interesting piece, with some pretty interesting analysis.

If we let ourselves get just slightly less polite, though, we should be able to move the discussion ahead a bit further. After all, we do know that the election is rigged. It is not rigged completely because discretion and publicity impose limits, but the party has done what it could to stop Sanders. They have not managed it altogether because he is the only popular candidate--and, of course, the institutions arrayed against him are reaching a point where they couldn't sell brains to zombies: there's just no credibility.

Sanders is not going to deeply influence Democratic policy, not unless he wins the candidacy. After all, Clinton's donors are not paying her to go all flippety and floppety. And these are decades-long relationships, some of them, and with some fairly heavy players. There's a lot of business on the line.

No, Sanders' supporters should not get discouraged because they are accomplishing something that has not happened in American politics in a good bit. They are creating a left wing to American electoral politics--not a terribly radical group, really, mostly just what we would have called liberals in our odd American dialect once upon a time, but still, humane opposition to corporatocracy, greedniks, and the more and less banal evils.

Of course it would be great were Sanders to win. But the closer he gets, the more he moves not the policy of the Democratic party or certainly of Hillary Clinton, but the recognition of the population that something can be done within electoral politics, whatever else we may have to do outside of it.

That' important not because it frees anyone from working outside of the electoral system, but because it means that for the likes of a Clinton or a bush or a Trump, working with or against the electoral system means something besides a coronation.

It means that impunity is not complete.


I know,

Our biggest power has been communicating with each other over the internet instead of staring at the one-way Tee-Vee.

How about the iU Party (The Internet Union Party.) The iU emphasizes our medium, the Internet, and the concept of bringing back what made America great last century and gave us a robust middle class, after the Greedfest of 1929: Organized Labor. Unions.

i and U can do it in the iU Party (the internet Union Party)

or alternatively just:


Some really good points. His campaign wins when his message against the failures and callousness of the establishment, particularly establishment Democratic politics, are challenged fiercely.


You've got the right idea. It appears more Americans than ever are thinking about how to dismantle the election industry, which makes millions for corporate executives of media organizations and other firms (where Hillary Clinton probably gave paid speeches at some point). They have questioned almost every little aspect of the primary process up to this point.

In fact, I'd say this of both sides. There are Democrats and Republicans who want the process to be much less driven by the parties and more influenced by the single votes of people. That is a tremendous development. It happened because they've paid attention to the party establishment conspiring against the popular will of voters and recognize that as deeply anti-democratic.


There are many days I wake up feeling passionately that Hillary Clinton is spoiling Bernie Sanders' chances of preventing Donald Trump from becoming president in November. More affirmatively, she is spoiling our chance at radically changing our country in ways that can reflect the reality that we are all in this together and must have a world that takes better care of our fellow humans.


Very encouraging article. It was disappointing to see the loss in the last round of voting but the hardest thing is knowing that had the vote been more fair and included Independents he probably would have won most of them.
Be that as it may Bernie supporters should not lose steam now. Don't watch CNN or MSNBC and keep your eyes on the prize. Bernie has done very well in the Western states. He could still win. But whether he does or not the revolution must go on. We aren't in it for Bernie we're in it for our rights and those are worth fighting for to the end.
One thing we should jump on no matter who wins is campaign finance and one person one vote...no delegate system. I haven't given up hope he will win. His courage gives me courage. Keep sending money and support.