A lot of Berners are upset Sanders is backing Clinton. Some even feel betrayed. But betrayal is a word that should never be associated with Sanders. Hero is more like it. Bernie Sanders is a hero; for his patient, Herculean effort to swing Hillary Clinton left, towards the true lode-star of traditional Democratic values. After 40 years in the moral wilderness, the Democratic Party may finally be heading home, past the granite cliffs of FDR’s Gibraltar to port at the teeming city of a Brand New Deal, where generations of tired, poor and hungry huddled masses await the Party’s prodigal return. Or, Hillary may continue to lead the party down Wall Street’s yellow brick road as she courts anti-Trump Republicans, in which case the corporatist Democrats may replace the rapidly disintegrating GOP, leaving an opening for the Green Party to assume the mantle of the New Left. This is the choice Clinton faces.
In the meantime, we need to acknowledge Sanders’ victory and hope it isn’t Pyrrhic. After all, he leveraged his base to get Hillary to renounce the TPP in its current form, in addition to Citizens United, while supporting a public option and free college for families making less than 125 grand a year. Fellow Berners, these big wins should be celebrated, not seen as a sell-out. Yes, our movement will need to walk not-so-softly and carry a big stick whether Hillary gets amnesia or not. The stick, of course, would be a 2020 primary challenge against an incumbent president, and/or an alienated mass of millennial voters in November. I’m sure the threat of her bluff is why Bernie pushed to purge the rigged primary rules at the Convention.
While manning the Hillary Watch, we can begin to reform the Democratic Party from within by using Bernie’s new campaign (Our Revolution) to pressure Congress on progressive issues. We can simultaneously apply party pressure from without by supporting affiliated organizations like Brand New Congress (BNC). This group will use the Bernie model to back progressive candidates for every seat in the land through small donations, volunteering, and yes, vetting volunteers to run for office (this means you!). So BNC could be the conduit for the Green Party, Progressive Party, Labor Party, or “Whatever” Party to fill the void left by the Democrats if they decide to go AWOL on their promises to Bernie’s revolution.
For the time being, keep in mind that Bernie and his army of grass roots delegates on convention committees have produced “the most progressive Democratic Party platform ever”, including a $15 dollar minimum wage. It’s entirely possible the Platform Committee only failed to denounce TPP because establishment members didn’t want to damage Obama’s “legacy”, but remember, if it isn’t just lip service, Hillary no longer supports TPP, so it appears she’s not afraid to buck Obama on this. Who knows? Maybe Hillary Clinton will do more than make history as the first female President, and, unlike Obama, actually be a great president. The only way she will achieve this though is to continue to embrace the progressive values our movement has thrust upon her. The Hillary Watch starts with her acceptance speech tonight.