Wow. There's been a really heated discussion on Thom Hartmann's site about whether we should follow Bernie Sander's and Thom Hartmann's explicit advice to support Hillary over any Republican in the general election, or to "be pure" and for all practical purposes, waste our vote (Yes, I have a strong opinion!). This would be a reasonable conversation given what's at stake, as long as some of the participants are not unknowing shills for Republican strategists. Why would I suggest that possibility? Read on.
What actually makes a revolution work? You need a overwhelming tide of support for change, a very well-informed and practical leader that everyone trusts, communications from that leader that no one can block, and a coldly executed, relentless, LONG TERM strategy. Guess what, we've got all of that now regardless of what Democrat ends up in the White House. Bernie Sanders, along with Elizabeth Warren, have more political clout than anyone else in the ascendant Progressive wing of the Democrat Party.
What we don't need now are short-term, feel good, stamp-your-feet symbolic acts that betray our long term goals. Such behavior is both immoral and a waste of precious political power.
Why immoral? Because no sane moral person would sacrifice the lives of 3,000 people so they could make the theoretical point they are not being given a choice to save 5,000! Actually that's a bad analogy, because the lives and well-being of millions of people will be lost if ANY Republican gets into the White House next year. Only a fool would take that chance. And even if Hillary starts down some bloody wrong path, Progressives can hold her immediately accountable, if we follow Bernie's and Elizabeth's lead and put a sufficient number of those Progressives into the Senate and House.
Why a waste of political power? The proof is in the oligarchs' strategy over the last 60+ years and the success Bernie has already achieved and can now capitalize on in our Progressive revolution.
The Koch brothers and their oligarch and corporate ilk have been patiently going about their takeover of the Republican and most of the Democratic party, and the Supreme Court, and key regulatory and enforcement positions from local and State Governments up, since the mid 50s. Ever since President Eisenhower told some rich right wing bozos from Texas (~ 1953?) that getting rid of Social Security was nuts, these forces (John Birch Society as one starting point) have slowly and methodically been working to undermine our democracy and take us all back to the good old days of 1900 monopolies, when America was basically made up of only the rich and the poor.
The oligarch's coup these turkeys have been trying to implement requires lots of poor and desperate people working so hard they have no time to even imagine a Democracy that could work better for them. This is politically impossible as long as there is a strong middle class, so for many decades now these SOBs have used a multiple step strategy where they simultaneously destroy the Middle Class and suck as much wealth out of individual bank accounts and homes as possible, transferring it into the pockets of the ultra rich. All that individual wealth and related political power the Middle Class accumulated in the 50's, 60's, and early 70's? Wiped out with a brilliant combination of tactical moves. Our worthy opponents have amplified the historic impact of automation on middle class jobs by outsourcing manufacturing and then importing the resulting products back into the US for even greater profits (Sam Walton's kids have betrayed everything he stood for). They have gotten rid of retirement plans and replaced them with 401K stock market "investments" that then crashed, after all the investment churn fees were collected of course. They combined those stock market losses with upside-down loans against a housing bubble and the financial burdens of lousy health insurance (at least until ACA for some) and uncontrolled costs for medical services. Now there is nothing for their kids to inherit and as the financial coup de grâce, most of this next generation of Middle Class and poor kids leave college with their own crippling debts. No money or equity in the family home to inherit; that was all spent on health care for aging parents. Just graduated a few years ago? Finally landed a low paying and/or iffy job? Need a place to live? No problem, but now instead of getting married and buying a house (you will never be able to afford that), we have these wonderful boxes (apartments) so several of you can move in together and share paying exorbitant rent for the rest of your life while you try to pay off those student loans. One more bonus, you are less likely to have kids, so less taxes on the rich to support schools, kid's health care, etc. Getting desperate? Thinking about declaring bankruptcy to end your student debt? Nope. Congress was already bribed so only corporations can do that.
Get it yet? These guys are playing a VERY LONG GAME where entire generations are both indentured and increasingly powerless. These are not impulsive short term actions, and you will never stop these guys with unthinking outbursts of anger. It is self-defeating to waste political power on distractions. Note I am not saying don't be angry. Just direct it at their weaknesses where it will actually do some good, and there are now some major weaknesses open to attack.
OK, so what's the real political purpose of the “don't vote for Hillary” meme. The long-term oligarch strategy only works if the majority of Americans are constantly overwhelmed and, even better, fighting over a daily barrage of short term distractions, and not concentrating on cutting these big money bastards out of our politics like the cancer they are. So we get an endless series of outrages: keeping transgender folks out of the bathroom, Ginger Hitler, voter suppression, Ayatollah Cruz, guns in kindergarten, no more birth control, Kasich Who, climate change is a hoax, etc. And now we come to the latest:
Hillary Clinton is sooo baad, the politically pure among us (an oxymoron, politics and purity) should all plan to throw away our vote on a third party candidate (not going to happen, so you just decided to not vote), or not vote at all “because you're pissed”, or maybe even vote for a Republican. After all, compared to Trump and Cruz, Kasich doesn't seem so bad, does he? Actually Kasich is much worse, given the damage he has done in Ohio and what he might actually accomplish as president. Best of all, Republican strategists would really love it if a significant number of Bernie Progressives get angry with each other and distracted enough to quit supporting Bernie's ongoing fight for political clout in the Primary.
Bull. It's a trick. Don't fall for it. Hillary Clinton, at her real or even imagined absolute worst, is infinitely better then any Republican. You have no choice in the November election if Hillary is the Democratic Candidate. A Republican in the White House with the Senate and House under Republican control (coat tails) would spell the end of our Democracy.
Now for the upside. If Bernie is not the presidential candidate, he will be back in the Senate with Elizabeth Warren leading the ascendant Progressive Wing of the Democratic party. Establishment Republicans and Democrats and the K-Street money puppets are scared to death of what's showing up in Bernie's polling results. Bernie is a political phenomenon sitting on top of a overwhelming tide of support for Progressive change. He is the most dangerous guy in the Senate for special interests, and they know it. They can not control him. Bernie has not sold out to a single special interest group. Large numbers of Democrats, disaffected Democrats, Independents, and even some Republicans have heard and enthusiastically support Bernie's Progressive message, and his combined voting block blows away many gerrymandered districts. He has collected ~$150 million dollars in average individual $27 dollar contributions. That's a huuuge commitment that will NOT fade away after the November election. We all learned a lesson when Obama told us “he would take things from here” back in 2009. Not this time. No one can control Bernie's communications with his supporters. He has his campaign's e-mail list and he can contact supporters any time he wants to ask for money to support the election of other Progressive candidates, to apply pressure on other politicians if they stray from support of Progressive issues, or to call for unified political action across the country, when that is required. That's real political power, not just a spreadsheet game to get slightly more votes than your competition in some single gerrymandered district.
This Progressive revolution happens if we continue to strongly support Bernie Sanders through to the Convention and there after. As far as I am concerned the “election” is basically over and Bernie won for all of us. Now it's time for the unruly left, Democrats, Independents, and rational Republicans to stop falling for bullshit distractions and follow Bernie and Elizabeth to create the country we and our kids deserve.