The BERNIE SANDERS Problem
This is a big election. It is a chance to reclaim 1968, the year liberalism failed and conservatism won, setting the tone for the 1980s and Reaganomics. To liberals this is worst-case scenario but to a group of people currently sitting in Philadelphia it might be exactly what they want. The Sanders’ delegates and “supporters” have come in full force to protest a system that they view as rigged and broken but in doing so their agenda has become clear — they’re not there to win a political game, they are there because they are spoiled and don’t really have political identity.
The democrats find themselves staring at a new voter group, Bernie supporters that are new to politics and aren’t ready to lose the primary, even though there is a much bigger election at stake. Elijah Cummings at the DNC said, “This is bigger than Hillary, this is bigger than Bernie,” but idea is foreign to Sanders supporters that believe they are fighting a personal battle against an establishment. But this is not personal, this isn’t about any one group, it is about preventing a future that repeats a pattern of conservative policy-making. And while recent history informs Americans that these policies promote systematic racism and classism, never have the driving forces behind these policies been so overt and full of ignorance. When Sanders says, “This is the real world, ” he knows that he speaks to a group of followers that does not understand how politics work. His constituents are now important and they have yet to take responsibility for the power they wield.
Progress and government is not simple and the huge steps that Sanders has forced the DNC to take cannot be underestimated. We can live in a post-modern America but in order to do that Sanders “supporters” have to learn about the importance of throwing their now considerable clout in the direction of liberal policy making. But I wonder if liberals and Sanders supporters are even on the same side, the liberal promises of Bernie Sanders jibe with the new democrats and provide comfort to those looking for change but these promises mean less to some of his followers. Trump thinks he can win Bernie voters by being an “outsider” and if he wins those voters maybe the issues — liberal policy-making and progressive societal changes — don’t actually mean anything. Maybe Sanders supporters never wanted a liberal revolution, maybe they just wanted to feel like victims rather than be a part of the solution.
The DNC unveiled an incredibly Sanders- influenced platform this week. They will push forth liberal agendas that were considered pipe dreams 8 years ago — free public college degrees, a push towards a single payer healthcare system and comprehensive voter reform to create a more democratic process. It is now time for liberals to take these wins and take the power from an old establishment with archaic views. But to do that young voters must suck up egos and learn that candidates lose all the time and that democracy is a process not a single moment in time. When the platform matters less than the egos of first time voters — out to subvert a process in which they usually do not participate — we have problems, we have a nation that will fall victim to old ideals, to institutional racism, to big business and to bigotry.