My friend, host of KPFT’s Politics Done Right, and Bernie Sanders delegate Egberto Willies, asks “Will Tim Kaine & Wikileaks break down burgeoning unity at DNC?”
After what we’ve learned as a result of the DNC Leak such a question is not only entirely fair, talk of any kind of unity is a complete farce.
So far we’ve learned:
The DNC knew the Clinton campaign had a “paid troll factory” to attack Sanders online:
DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz wanted MSNBC to squash sympathetic coverage of Sanders:
The DNC wanted staffers to covertly spread anti-Sanders articles:
The DNC wanted to “expose” Sanders as an atheist:
…to which the DNC CEO said “AMEN“:
The DNC also helped create an anti Sanders narrative:
This isn’t meant to be exhaustive, but it goes on and on, with more presumably to come as the DNC convention progresses.
The RNC convention was supposed to be the shit-show of the season, but now the DNC convention starts with news of the DNC chair’s resignation and the possibility of Sanders supporters in open revolt on the convention floor.
Can do you blame them? The candidate Clinton supporter Sam Harris called “preternaturally inauthentic” for example, made a VP pick seemingly aimed more at drawing #NeverTrump Republicans than at exciting the Democrats’ progressive base, a move Trump already exploits.
The selection of Tim Kaine as the vice presidential candidate shows not only a disregard for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. It shows a tone-deafness to the current political climate. It gives the Trump campaign a potent real-time narrative of disregard. After all, Tim Kaine just recently spoke out in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and signed on to new bank deregulation.
This open disregard the DNC shows for progressives isn’t just a narrative for an opportunistic politician to craft and exploit – it’s now an established fact.
Schultz may have resigned as a result of this, but the interim chair, CNN and ABC contributor Donna Brazile, is also implicated in the DNC’s campaign to sabotage Sanders:
In her statement, the Clinton campaign says they’re bringing Schultz onto the campaign so she can continue to do what many suspected was her real job, this time openly:
With all of this in mind and just to stay within one issue, remember those who are hostile to the Trans-Pacific Partnership since the Democrats now have to convince those people:
- A presidential candidate who among a plethora of other issues has also flip-flopped on the TPP and will certainly support it if elected.
- A VP candidate who spoke highly of it, just hours before being named
- A party which implicitly endorses it
- And a sitting president who’s trying to ram it through
If you oppose the TPP and don’t see where this is going, there may be no help for you.
So what is a Bernie Sanders supporter to do? How does a Sanders supporter actively campaign for the head of a ticket that is severely flawed to many who believe in real progressive values, when they are codified by poor personnel picks? It will be difficult indeed.
I no longer consider myself a “progressive” as my politics have grown more complicated over the past few years.
I’m not a Democrat either, broadly speaking, nor even am I any longer a Sanders supporter, especially because of his continued support for Clinton through all this.
But I liked and agreed with him enough to vote for him in the Texas primary (the only measure of which I’m aware of and consent to being considered to be a Democrat), so I can only answer this as a former Sanders supporter who still aligns with progressives when I agree, conservatives and libertarians when I don’t, and with the memories of convictions I once held which now carry the pain of what I imagine a amputated limb feels like after surgery.
Some people, myself included, laugh at this debacle and wallow in the schadenfreude which accompanies watching powerful figures, aloof from the daily concerns of people they lie to and exploit for donations and votes, exposed for wrongdoing.
But there’s also something infuriating on a human level, “tribe” or “team” notwithstanding, to watch this unfold.
However you feel about the Democratic Party, I don’t particularly enjoy watching it shit all over people who have been saying for months that something about the primary process wasn’t right and then watch those people just take it when they were proven right all along.
That’s why I found myself struck by the first sentence of Willies’ blog post:
Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Establishment gave the progressive wing of the party the finger and sadly we may just have to take it, for now
I may not be a progressive now, but I remain one just enough to be irritated at the very notion of this.
What if, for all his numerous flaws, you don’t?
What if nearly half of Sanders supporters apparently though as much before the DNC leak?
There’s a saying which George W. Bush famously fucked up, that says “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”
When will progressives stop letting the DNC fool them?
Again, I consider Egberto a friend, but any talk of unity after this is a complete farce, and if Sanders supporters don’t walk now it sends the signal that DNC bosses can undermine them like this with total, absolute impunity and they will never stop doing it.