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Since the New York primary, pundits seem bent on convincing Bernie Sanders supporters that it's time for him to go. Their reaction?

Consolidate Behind Hillary

Big Media Says "Consolidate Behind Hillary." Why Fragmentation Is the Future—Larry Wines

Uninspired. Unimpressed. Unenthused. Unamused.

Let's be clear: that is the sure and certain response to such a message when anyone foists it on a Bernie supporter — who, after all, signed on not for a mere campaign, but for a Political Revolution. We school our citizens on George Washington and Valley Forge, then expect them to roll over, four feet in the air, when things get tough?

To expect Bernie's legions to capitulate isn't a matter of abandoning their candidate. It's antithetical to their vision, their hope, their world view and philosophy.

To expect Bernie's legions to capitulate isn't a matter of abandoning their candidate. It's antithetical to their vision, their hope, their world view and philosophy. For them, switching to Hillary means embracing — merely by voting for — the one candidate in the entire race who epitomizes Big Money in big chunks received from a power elite of connected insiders who rolls in dough.

That, when the central tenet of Bernie's Political Revolution is to get Big Money OUT of politics. Yet the Clinton camp — a veritable machine that seeks, finds, and collects large donations — publicly speaks of deligitimizing Bernie Sanders and worrying about uniting the Party later. The Clinton people seem to see money as the grain of sand in Bernie's eye, but not as the boulder in Hillary's. At best, that's astonishing naiveté. At worst, it's shocking arrogance.

Different Experiences: The Origin of a Bernie Supporter

While a Sanders rally produces people of all ages, it is the youthful contingent of his base that draws all the media mention. Since that's the case, it would be useful to understand them.

An 18- to 24 year-old in America grew up with impacts of the crash of 2008, seeing and hearing from family and friend's families that no one has ever quite recovered and gotten back to where they were, except the bailed-out fat cats who caused it.

They saw, and some experienced first hand, Occupy Wall Street and its many derivatives, including Occupy L.A. on City Hall lawns. Like the "duck and cover" generations of the '50s and '60s, the proximity of disaster has always seemed palpable. But it's financial disaster that can revisit their lives because no one went to jail and most piratical perpetrators are still running things.

It's all combined to make them reticent to accept regimentation, to join things like political parties characterized by positions that seem custom fit to perpetuate the status quo, because somebody is making a killing who can keep it that way.

Meanwhile, their parents and even older siblings went to college or a university. If they go, they're saddled with decades of debt that prevents any hope of buying their own home, even if marriage and babies are forthcoming. Buying a new car while paying ridiculously high rent? That further constrains possibilities that existed in multitude during the Bill Clinton '90s. The cliché about moving back to their parent's house is a reality for more young people than ever before.

There's a reason why purveyors of fattening fast food have proliferated. And a reason why the fight for a fifteen-buck minimum wage trumps a call for twelve dollars. And Donald Trump's casual judgment that "Wages are too high."

Ambition too often runs aground on unaffordability. Dawdling in community college is a new endurance sport because it's all that's affordable. Meanwhile, they watch current release movies glorifying millionaire computer and social media developers portrayed as pain-in-the-ass rebels, while taught to be sensitive, interactive members of the team who all received participation trophies while growing up. And they "build" personal web pages because it's an affordable outlet for their creativity and replacement for social interaction they can't afford to get through travel.

And somehow they emerge into young adulthood with a sense of responsible global citizenship and a sense they can shape reality to precipitate a brighter future. Though raised with shadows of financial ruin and terrorism, they're the most committed generation we've ever produced when it comes to demanding and expecting stewardship of the planet. Prejudice, power trips, and exploiters are pariahs.

Authenticity and social conscience are absolutely required. When they see and hear that in others, it resonates, connects, and inspires. Within and beyond their generation. Bernie Sanders' entire life makes him their hero.

Money, Perception, Reality

To be clear, the $166 million spent by the Sanders campaign is, by far, the most spent by any candidate to date. But that's not the point. Sanders' money, as any of his supporters can tell you, is raised from millions of small donors in an average amount of twenty-seven bucks each.

That informs half-a-dozen realities that are tightly linked to perceptions. And in Sanders-land, asserting perception and reality are one-and-the-same is far more credible than anywhere else in politics.

First, there's the universal Democratic Party rhetoric about campaign finance reform and repealing the Supreme Court's Citizen's United and McCutcheon decisions. Hillary talks the talk while throwing fundraisers that cost $333,000 per couple. Bernie walks the walk, with $27 fundraisers, like the one that showered Clinton's car with real one-dollar bills on her way to a $100,000 per seat fundraiser.

Second, Sanders can stay in the race simply with residual cash on hand. Plus — and this is important — he can go back to his enthusiastic support base many more times, maintaining a revenue stream as long as his message resonates with them. Because almost no Bernie supporter has maxed out at the donor limit.

Third, that last point simply is not so with Hillary. The majority of her money has come from supporters who are legally maxed out. Those wells may not be dry, but now they're off-limits. It's that critically important crossroads.

Fourth, the frustration in the Clinton camp — that Bernie is there at all, and that he won't go away? It isn't just about her being dragged to the left where, uncharacteristically, she parallels, and often mimics, many of Sander's long-held positions. Something she has awkwardly, and visibly uncomfortably done to thwart his challenge. Because it reaches the party's long-frustrated liberal base that was abandoned by Bill Clinton's Democratic Leadership Council of conservative but aspiring Southern Democrats in 1992.

(We'll note that Barack Obama wasn't aboard with that, but solid Republican obstructionism meant he began every fight from a compromised position he should have bargained to reach.)

Fifth, it's about America dragged to the right. Liberals too long told to open their wallets to pay for firewalls to prevent unthinkable losses, while being told to shut-up and get in the back seat. And finally, thanks to the one man the party apparatchiks couldn't control — an independent who has always caucused with the Democrats — the liberals see a path back from exile. That's the heart-and-soul context.

And sixth, there's the dollar-sign context. And we're not even bringing-in those $225,000 speeches to Wall Street execs that remain private and guarded.

It is — especially for Hillary Clinton, a candidate obsessed with money and its power and influence — about being forced to spend a lot of money now. Because that becomes lost money that won't be around for the general election campaign.

Money and Where It Goes: TV

Every good American story has a bugle call and cavalry charge. Along with the lesser known truth of many of those stories, of who got massacred by those cavalry charges. Thursday, the presumptive Democrats' cavalry became Move On dot Org, who made massive early tv ad buys for August-to-November. So much television ad time that anyone else will find almost nothing is available anywhere in the critical run-up weeks to the election.

That's significant beyond the obvious. Republicans — whether Trump or Cruz — are cut off at the pass. Together with GOP Senate, House, gubernatorial, and even their candidates for state and local offices, all will find the arena is a sold-out show. That's regardless of whether the Koch Brothers or Katie Packer jump in, and no matter how much money anyone brings.

TV programming is made with only so much time for commercials. You want more? Buy a half-hour that preempts scheduled programming.

There's more. Now that all that ad time is bought, it doesn't just crowd out Republicans. The same thing applies to everyone else. Like desperate upstart third parties founded in outrage over rigged processes and thievery or stark terror of losing a chance to which you believe you were entitled.

And suddenly that's at the center of all these factors that never matter in any other election, but loom as yuge spectres in this one.

How to Fracture a Party: The Republicans

As 2016 advances, rancorous Republicans are frequently cited as ripe for splitting into two entities. Some kind of breakaway third party of malcontents. Scenarios vary widely.

There's the one where the machinations of party hacks block Trump, causing his supporters to walk. Presto. Guaranteed third party. Add water and stir. He has the money, and so does his support base which hasn't yet been hustled for dough.

Next, there are those ideas that Cruz — as the cross bearer of extremist evangelicals ready to do anything to precipitate The Apocalypse and force Jesus to come back — will jump the rails to put his denied Crusade on the ballot. What's the translation of Hezbollah? Oh yeah. The Party of God. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

Best of all, there's the complex but plausible scenario that, actually, it will be a stodgy old GOP base that breaks with its party if Trump's insurgency proves unstoppable. Sort of that infamous old Vietnam quote, "We had to destroy the village to save it."

This one sees traditional Republicans who have had it. They're fed-up with pacifying their intransigently unyielding teabaggers' demands for a takeover to paralyze everything, in this scenario. They're traditional Republicans who see a boneheaded torch-and-pitchfork crowd storming the Bastille.

It's their final straw. Added to long-simmering disgust with religious zealots fixated on pelvic issues. Plus the creepiness of gun-toting open-carry ammosexual duck dweebs bedecked in camo at the mall. And now, this is too much: physically pugilistic fans of a mega-rich class-traitor who espouses an incomprehensibly incongruent message. Who brings a mob of followers that ultimately will not follow marching orders. When everyone knows good Republicans fall into line.

But not this — rabble — of unwashed, unsophisticated clods, frenzied by a simplistic reality tv hook line turned campaign theme. Their egomaniacal leader may be a member of the club, but certainly they are not.

And Trump has them. Because he says that everything somebody else did is what ruined your chances to live as you damn well please, but I'm here, that's tremendous, I'm your politically incorrect savior, you're gonna love it, and just look, I can prove it because I know how to put my name on everything. Except Mexico's wall. They're going to pay for that.

It's not that he embarrasses the Republican elite with race baiting and miscogeny. He scares the hell out of them with a bring-your-own-followers insurrection that threatens their control. Trump is an existential threat.

It's not that he embarrasses the Republican elite with race baiting and miscogeny. He scares the hell out of them with a bring-your-own-followers insurrection that threatens their control. Trump is an existential threat.

What's that line from Milton: "It's better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven"-? For lifelong and multi-generational Republicans, sailing the small boat with Captain Bligh may prove more attractive than accepting mutinous upstarts aboard the Bounty.

It's been weeks since Sen. Lindsay Graham (R) SC, said his party "Has gone batsh*t crazy," and you still can't find anyone making a case that it's gotten better.

A GOP of Miserable S.O.B.'s and Atom Bombs

In Trumpspeak, there's been a trail of nicknames worse than the ones applied by George W. Bush to demean everyone in his orbit. For his remaining GOP challengers, there's the new "one in forty-one Kasich" to remind one and all that the Ohio governor has won only his home state. Better known is "Lyin' Ted Cruz," to distance his natural ties with evangelical zealots and draw constant scrutiny to contradictory behavior which the Texas senator seems to find irresistible.

By comparison, the other side is so civil, prim and proper that, in terms of its tabloid appeal, it's boring. Neither Democratic candidate is calling the other anything close to "Lucifer in the flesh," as former House Speaker John Boehner said of Ted Cruz Wednesday night.

Boehner immediately added, "I've never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch," and said, "Ted Cruz will become president over my dead body."

Chris Matthews used his "Let Me Finish" commentary, closing the following day's "Hardball," to assert that it was no mere outburst from the former second heartbeat from the Presidency. Matthews said that, indeed, John Boehner's failure came when "conservatives who believe in conservative government ran up against conservatives in a tea party who believe that government shouldn't function."

Of course, Cruz led that second faction, shutting-down the federal government for days by denying all funding with a Senate procedural trick when he couldn't get his way. After reminding us of that and the ample comments from legislative Republicans that no one, but no one, can get along with, or in any way likes, Ted Cruz? Matthews' closing line was, "Boehner, let's agree, never looked this good."

For his part, Ted Cruz replied, "John Boehner said he'd 'never worked with a more miserable s.o.b. That's interesting. I've never worked with John Boehner. I don't know him."

Considering freshman Senator Cruz came from Nowheresville, Texas, to get elected to the U.S. Senate — by receiving fewer total votes than the number of people in a single congressional district represented by a member of the House — is as close as Cruz has ever come to the House of Representatives. It was his boss, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) KY, that Cruz called "A liar" on the Senate floor. Thus, "TrusTED" making his statement about "not knowing" Boehner seems reasonable.

Not so fast. Boehner once hired Ted Cruz to be his lawyer. He knows him. And we're right back to "Lyin' Ted."

So much for the Cruz tactic of picking his running mate early to steal the news cycle. A sort-of, Let's pivot to Cruz-Fiorina and Indiana taste-test Purina Monkey Chow.

Hey, if Trump doesn't take to calling her Carly Purina it'll be the only schoolyard banana-fo-fanna name game he's missed.

About the same time Boehner was skewering Cruz, something far more ominous was happening. Legendary temper-tantrum-and-chair-throwing University of Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight was endorsing Donald Trump as someone who "Wouldn't be afraid to drop the bomb," meaning, very specifically, nuclear bombs.

That's not an extrapolation. The full context was there, with Knight calling Harry Truman "great" because "he saved billions of American lives" by dropping atomic bombs on Japan "in 1944."

Of course, the US population has never even been close to one billion, and today's all-time high is just over a third of that. And the atomic bomb was the weapon that ended World War II in August, 1945. The Manhattan Project had not built the first bomb in 1944. It certainly would have been used then had it existed then. But an additional year of people dying has nothing to do with Bobby Knight's vision of badass machismo and Trump's happy acceptance of Knight's endorsement without a cautionary reassurance about launching nukes. Instead, Trump went for, "We're gonna win-win-win-win-win!" to thunderous cheers.

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And it was hardly the first time Trump or someone standing next to him has overtly threatened to take the nation to war, including using nukes. Trump appears comfortable with it, and even seems to enjoy it.

Beyond the fact that it's terrifying, could there be any bigger contrast with the supposedly un-energized Democrats?

The Myth of Unifying Democrats

Cornell Belcher, former DNC pollster, was Chris Hayes' guest Thursday on MSNBC's "All In." Hayes opened with a treatise on an assured default win for Democrats up and down the ticket because every Democrat finds either Republican candidate so distasteful.

Belcher, whose job is to study and understand the electorate, cut Hayes off, having none of it.

Immediately, Belcher began to explain, "I think we're betting too much on disliking Trump. Dislike of a candidate isn't going to mobilize young people to get out and vote. If we think it translates to votes for Democrats, that's fool's gold."

Belcher packed plenty into his air time. "Obama voters had not necessarily been Democratic voters before," and you can't assume they're coming back for anyone else "just because that candidate is a Democrat," he explained.

In addition, Belcher said, "I think it's lazy to believe we are mobilizing these young voters, especially these young black and brown voters... [just] because they don't like the opposition."

He continued, "These young voters have been becoming increasingly more independent," and that it's been "The Bernie Sanders campaign and [Bernie's call for a] political revolution that's been bringing them out."

Having spent time in conversation with numerous Bernie Sanders' supporters, at least a condensation of the themes they articulate is the most effective way to demonstrate why Belcher's point is absolutely critical.

Hillary often trivializes the Sanders' agenda, suggesting it's not even a plan, and claims she is the only one talking real politik. Her obvious message is that your reach cannot exceed your grasp, that you only ever achieve in increments. And you should feel accomplished when you do that. Claim victory. Claim you are successful. Regardless how much lies ahead, undone. Unattempted. You advanced some way. "Ten million cracks in that glass ceiling," as she said in 2008.

Bernie Sanders' supporters have a philosophy incapable of reconciliation with celebrating dubiously redefined increments as victory.

Bernie people freely express many things. Central to them is this: we are finding ourselves in a time when powerful forces are acting with unbridled greedy excess to the detriment of everyone and everything else.

And it's a time when, AT LAST, people are making themselves aware, putting aside their own chances for "success" as regimented cogs in the money machine, and choosing instead to save the future, save the planet, and even to put themselves at risk to end the growing reign of the oligarchs and plutocrats who got us into this endless matrix of toxicity, climate crisis, decaying infrastructure, and evaporating opportunities that greed produced.

It doesn't make this the happiest or the most exciting time to be alive. But it is necessary that we are alive now, as agents of change now, so others can be born after us to do the things of which we can only dream.

Because without us standing up and saying "no" to greed and exploitation, then what of those who may — or may not — follow our time here? Surely the world they inherit will be incapable of fulfilling any dreams worthy of sharing or deeming great if we fail to save it.

It's the old Thomas Mann quote: "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

All that has everything to do with why people embrace the idealism of Bernie Sanders' Political Revolution.

So, when someone cites a "lack of enthusiasm among Democrats," they're not attuned to Bernie's legions. They're likely referring to the Party if Hillary wins the nomination and immediately begins to tack right for the general election, back to her comfort zone, away from their's.

Even conservative campaign funding Koch Brother Charles hinted last week that she could be more acceptable than either Republican candidate. That was seen as a bombshell, because when campaign 2016 was first cranking-up, the Kochs pledged nearly a billion dollars to support a Republican candidate that they would name.

So far, the Koch Brothers have not parted with a dime of their presidential campaign money. Neither has GOP moneybags Katie Packer, whose "Never Trump" financiers seem to have balked at the realization that their only alternatives are civil war or Ted Cruz.

The zen of the Sanders campaign might be analogous to a population of Tibetan monks visualizing a perfect world. While the Clinton campaign is Big China that can't have such influences and requires acceptance of, and adherance to, the priorities of its agenda. Because all must remain acceptable to those Big Money donors.

A full-time Sander's campaign operative observed to me, "Just look at her campaign logo. That 'H' with the arrow? The arrow points to the right! How much more clear can she make it?"

The key Obama campaign organization, OFA — Obama for America — continued after his second inaugural as DFA — Democracy for America. Charles Chamberlain, its Executive Director, issued the following message on April 28:

"Something astonishing is happening in California.

Since the beginning of 2016:

  • Nearly 1 million new voters have registered in California.
  • There's been a 70% increase in the number of voters age 18-29 registered in 2016, as compared to 2012.
  • Latino registration is 98% larger this year than in 2012.
  • Democratic Party registration is up 185% (!) over 2012.

It's clear that one of the main reasons fueling this record-breaking surge of voters is Bernie Sanders and our political revolution.

That followed Sanders' own message to supporters on April 27 — the morning after, as he characterized it, "we won Rhode Island but fell short in four other states."

He said, "What remains in front of us is a very narrow path to the nomination. In the weeks to come we will be competing in a series of states that are very favorable to us — including California."

California. Not since Bobby Kennedy won the primary in the Golden State in 1968 has it mattered so much here. In Kennedy's case, for only minutes before he was assassinated.

For Sanders' supporters and history, it's the first real return of a similarly expansive vision. Mingle at a Sanders rally and you'll be lobbied by enthusiastic young people, newly re-registered from Decline-to-State — California's version of independent — to Democrats, so they can run for seats to the Democratic Convention as Bernie delegates.

They're Democrats because he became a Democrat. Nearly a million of them in California alone. In Berniespeak, that's yuge.

But will that 70% increase in 2016 voters, age 18-29, and that 98% increase in Latino registration, and that 185% increase in Democratic Party registration be there in November for the sake of "party unity?"

Therein is the myth of unifying Democrats.

Cornell Belcher, the former DNC pollster, says it's "Fool's gold" to expect unity because the Republican candidate is a turn-off. Bernie people are there because they were inspired, drawn to something yuge, somebody different, not a flip-flopping standard politician, but, as one campaign slogan proclaims, "Bernie (not the billionaires)."

Immediately after Trump's sweep of five states Tuesday and Hillary taking four of them to Bernie's one, the chorus intensified from corporate Big Media for Sanders to "land the plane," "end his challenge," or more directly, "drop out."

Bernie supporters talk openly of "Writing him in" in November if he isn't on the ballot. Moreover, it's an open secret that support — and plenty of those small individual donations — would be there if he opts for a third party run.

Bernie pledges to "Do all that he can to make sure a Republican does not win the White House." Which seems to leave that door open.

By Thursday, Jane Sanders was detailing ways that Bernie delegates would work to reform and refocus the Democratic Party by changes to its platform and focus.

Bernie's stump speeches Thursday included calling for "Building tremendous momentum going into the convention," acknowledging, "That is the reality of where we are right now, and why we are going to fight for every delegate and every vote."

He goes on, "It is why I am going to continue to speak to voters in every state about the very important issues facing our country. Our country cannot afford to stop fighting for a $15 minimum wage, to overturn Citizens United, or to get universal health care for every man, woman, and child in America."

He continues to make clear his opposition to TPP and the overriding necessity to be far more aggressive combating climate change.

All those are things that made Hillary Clinton bristle, proclaiming that she neither brought demands nor set conditions when she finally endorsed Barack Obama, two months after being mathematically eliminated in 2008. She seemed able then to grasp something she cannot or will not fathom now: that in each case, she was opposing more than a rival for office. She was with Barack Obama, and is, with Bernie Sanders, opposing a movement comprised of people who are there because their candidate is there. In many cases, only because their candidate is there.

But in '08, she was the loser embracing ideology she had opposed. Now, she sees herself as the winner and her tone is that bristling resentment. If it manifests as rejection of Bernie's positions she adopted for the primaries and drops for the general? The standard practice of Republicans running farther right, Democrats running farther left until they have their party's nominations, then quickly racing to wherever the ephemeral middle-of-the-road seems to be, at any given time?

That tactic may help a Trump or a Cruz candidacy with apoplectic Republicans, their standard outliers like the Libertarians and Constitution Party, and with some independents.

But retreating from what Bernie's legions put forth at the Democratic Convention? Things like adopting same-day registration, open primaries, an end to superdelegates, and the key platform positions named above? Over a third of Bernie supporters — in some surveys, over 40% — already declare they will not vote for Hillary Clinton in November. That's before she tacks back to the right, if indeed she becomes the nominee and realigns her campaign.

The Coming Multi-Party System Is Upon Us

We see every sign of a fragmented political landscape, ripe to junk the arcane rigor mortis of two tired, hidebound, insider-controlled, unresponsive old political parties. It's been tantamount to heresy in America for a hundred-and-four years to suggest replacing "The Two Party System" — always capitalized as if it were ingrained in Valhalla. Though two parties, or any other number, are neither protected by, nor foreseen in, the constitution.

There is growing sentiment across the political spectrum that two parties are easy for plutocrats to buy and control. Just keep them divided on the basis of "social issues" and that'll distract them from how the economy is run, by whom, and to who's betterment or detriment. It's only two parties. "You just donate to both when you're in business," as Donald Trump has repeatedly said.

But the internet, for all its bs and baloney, is bringing growing realization by progressives that European multi-party systems govern nations with health care for all, ever-modernized and meticulously maintained infrastructure, high-speed rail between most major cities, frequent and comfortable mass transit from suburbs to downtowns, autobahns without the rot and potholes of our freeways, better working conditions, shorter work weeks, guaranteed family and medical leave, weeks of vacation that must be taken, free university education (to maintain competitiveness in a global economy), a universal embrace of clean, sustainable energy, a commitment to reverse the effects of climate change (instead of one of two parties that denies it exists), safe and dignified retirement, longer life spans, and significantly higher indices for health, happiness, and quality of life.


None of which is addressed in the sham, "Make America Great Again."

A stronger case for the Political Revolution? Certainly. A comprehensive argument against being content with austerity? With any sense of accomplishment from what's "achievable and realistic" as tiny incremental change? Yes.

And an indictment of an American political system and the politicians who fundamentally want to keep it the way it is.

So, don't expect party unity as some magnetic phenomenon, some homing-pigeon instinctual return to either of our two broken parties. No matter how much the two parties each demand and expect it. Regardless of how much the party faithful villifies those who won't "come home" to support a charade of what claims to be there. No matter how much the free thinking rebels are blamed for "letting the other side win!"

We can exacerbate the damage by resisting the future, or we can embrace what must come to advance our society.


"Party unity" that promises incremental gains at a pace suitable to plutocrats and oligarchs, while limiting voter participation, is no way to achieve the latter, and 2016 makes that abundantly clear.

Larry Wines