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Many voters—especially on the left end of the spectrum who read LA Progressive—face a quandary this November. On the one hand, we've got a Democratic presidential candidate many say they don’t trust.

after bernie

Why Political Parties Are Unnecessary—Frank Fear

On the other hand, we’ve got a Republican nominee whose candidacy—never mind the presidency sane folks among us hope he’ll never have—makes America the laughingstock of the world, pretty wife or not.

In between, you’ve got a Green and a Libertarian who have no chance at all, no matter how fetching some of their ideas might be.

Let’s take a look at this weekend's survey to get some sense of the choices you'll make.

Going Green

Overwhelming, the survey indicated that many Bernie supporters will opt for Jill Stein and the Green Party, which led with 71% of the three choices we offered respondents. Following next was the thought that Independents would support the Greens as well, with 49%.

Said Dick Chase, “I think we just have to wait for both major parties to self-destruct into many fragmented parties. Then we can be governed by a fluency of coalition governments, not unlike many countries in Europe and the Commonwealth Nations. BOTH Parties are yesterday’s news.”

Feelings among Bernie's supporters are certainly raw coming out of a convention that was so thoroughly orchestrated to marginalize Sanders and his supporters in the coronation of a candidate who party insiders and many media mavens had long ago selected.

Feelings among Bernie's supporters are understandably raw coming out of a convention that was so thoroughly orchestrated to marginalize Sanders and his supporters in the coronation of a candidate who party insiders, Wall Street kingmakers, and many media mavens had long ago selected.

Former Obama senior advisor David Axelrod tweeted “As one who has worked conventions, this one was masterful from start to finish in its strategy, messaging and production.”

Right, if the point was to put on a Beyonce concert, that would have been the approach to take. But at a political convention, it came across as yet another attempt to subvert the will of regular workaday Democrats and the independent voters who will likely determine the election’s results.

Nor was everyone enamored of the Jill Stein approach. Said Gary:

“What legislative accomplishments as a house member, senator, governor or mayor of a large city does Stein have that she should earn my vote? What meaningful position has she held as a politician to earn my trust in her? Nothing? She’s not interested in holding office? Well then I’m not interested in her. Give me a progressive politician, and failing that, at least a liberal politician.”

Republicans Going Maroon—or Whatever Color Libertarians Use?

Probably precious few Republicans found the way to our survey, so you might take the fact that 40% of respondents say that numerous Republicans will opt for Libertarian Gary Johnson, the former two-term governor of New Mexico, with a large grain of salt.

And yet recent polls have shown that Johnson is closing the gap on Trump in several Southwestern states: “An internal poll conducted for Rep. Mia Love earlier this month had Trump at 29 percent with Johnson trailing at just 26 percent in Utah.”

Notably, high-level Republicans made themselves scarce in Cleveland’s Republican convention. None of the Bushes showed, nor did any failed Republican presidential candidate still above ground—Mitt Romney, John McCain, nor even Bob Dole. And Ted Cruz famously gave a stinging nonendorsement endorsement that will likely stand him in good stead down the road should the Trump-Pence ticket crash and burn below Goldwater’s historic low as many expect.

But many Republicans of the Teahadist persuasion have nurtured such a visceral, misanthropic hatred for Hillary Clinton that they’re likely to do what they're best at come November: fall in line. And the public’s disgust on both ends of the political spectrum with the status quo is likely to help the Trump insurgency, no matter how dangerously nutty its leader.

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Bernie Sanders supporter Nina Turner

Blackening the Dot for Hillary

Just a third of survey respondents thought most Democrats would end up voting for Hillary Clinton and 22% thought a number of Republicans would follow suit.

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This morning, Sen. Bernie Sanders urged his supporters to consider that course:

“I would ask my supporters to get away from the personality conflicts that media tries to bring forward and focus on the real issues impacting the American people, and when you do that, I think the choice is pretty clear and that is that Hillary Clinton is far and away the superior candidate. We have over 13 million people who supported my candidacy. And I have no doubt that there are some of those people who will not vote for Hillary Clinton. But I would say that the vast majority of them—and I think as the campaign progresses and people take a hard look at the issues—I think more and more of those people will come on board Sec. Clinton’s campaign.”

And Sen. Chuck Schumer, the New York senator who will replace Sen. Harry Reid as minority leader, cited surveys showing that Bernie’s supporters indicate that 90% already will likely vote for Hillary, a number Schumer thinks will grow:

“I have good relationships with the Bernie supporters in our delegation in New York. The first day, they were upset. By now, most of them are saying they're voting for Hillary. My prediction: Ninety-five percent plus will vote for Hillary, and more than half will work for Hillary. The anathema of Donald Trump, stronger with millennials than any other age group, is going to push them in our direction.”

Schumer’s job is to win over Bernie’s supporters for the Clinton-Kaine ticket, so he’s naturally enthusiastic, cheerleading with his heart if not all of his head. Given that Donald Trump—a buffoonish and utterly unprepared demagogue—presents such an odious alternative, a great many Sanders supporters, especially in tossup states where their votes will matter, are likely to hold their nose and blacken the dot for Hillary, or even possibly do so with great gusto.

But a solid core of Bernie’s supporters completely turned their lives over to support his campaign—some for a year, some longer—and it’s hard to see them pounding the pavement or working the phones for an uninspiring centrist Clinton-Kaine ticket, which spells trouble in November for Democrats up and down the ballot.

Perhaps Milton Whaley put it best:

“The best strategy I see for us Bernie backers, short of anarchy, is getting her in the White House and then getting active! Hold her feet to the fire! March. Petition. Plan for 2018. After November, if Bernie beckons with some new party, I’ll be there. I think he can form a majority party out of his ideas and leadership. I’ll keep sending money to his campaign and candidates he endorses.”

The Long Game

The movement that drove Bernie Sanders to such mind-blowing prominence this past year did not begin with Bernie, nor let’s pray will it end with him. Protests against the status quo have been bubbling up for 15 years at least, against the misbegotten invasion of Iraq, around the foreclosure crisis that hurt so many homeowners during the Great Recession, and in the Occupy, Fight 4 Fifteen, Dreamers, and BlackLivesMatter movements, among others.

Bernie’s campaign planted that passion on the front page, showing that a great many Americans are ready for a thoroughgoing change.

But Donald Trump does present a real danger—to Americans of all stripes and to world peace. Those of us in solidly blue states can “send a message” with a vote for Jill Stein. But as Bernie himself is advising, elsewhere progressive voters need to take great care.

Here’s how Donald Goldmacher puts it:

“As this American Empire continues to erode, we on the left must be very strategic in how we move forward. If an authoritarian is elected, we will not be able to move our agenda forward. History has always shown that dictatorships are not easily toppled. Better for us to be opposing a neoliberal these next four years than a neofascist.”

Looking beyond November, Jim Spriggs outlines a couple ways progressive’s can move Bernie’s movement whether they chose to send a message with Jill, hold their nose with Hillary, or sit on their hands:

  • An organization that will help out was started back in late April, and now we’re working to suss out potential Berniecrats to run for the House, then later support their campaigns as they try to crowd out the Corporocrats in 2018. Local groups are sprouting up all over the country. The political revolution continues with a Brand New Congress.
  • And just days ago, Bernie Sanders announced the official post-primary continuation of the Bernie political revolution to “transform American politics to make our political and economic systems once again responsive to the needs of working families. Our work will continue in the form of a new group called Our Revolution.”

Then there are the “Top 12 Berniecrats Running in 2016. Perhaps there’s one in your area you could rally behind.

dick-price-hat

Sending a message, pressing a Clinton-Kaine administration in more progressive directions, working for progressive candidates, and organizing for long-term change aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive paths.

Dick Price, Editor