We get the democracy we deserve.
I’m going to start with the disclosure that I support Bernard Sanders as the best candidate for president, which is a courtesy than are getting from most the things you might be reading or watching.
I have to write this. You don’t have to read this, but I have to write it.
Politics are exhausting. There are so many agendas and biases, understandably so that sorting out truth becomes nearly impossible. Evidence suggests this could be by design.
I’m going to focus on the democratic primary, with a few comments on the general election.
Stacking the Deck
I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating. - Sophocles
Suggesting an election isn’t unfair because a candidate has the most votes is like claiming people aren’t cheating at cards because they are holding the best hand.
Let’s ignore Sanders for just a moment, with the impending primaries and convention.
O’Malley declared the process ‘rigged’ before voting even started, arguing that reducing the number of primary debates from 26 in 2008 to 4 in 2016 explicitly adding “This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before”.
The DNC changed the rules at the last minute solely to exclude Lawrence Lessig from participating. Can you imagine what the political discussion might look like today if this guy was able to present his ideas on that stage? The Lesters would not have it.
That’s all before the primaries even started.
Since then we’ve had a series of incidents indicative of voter suppression, most obviously the pattern of reducing polling locations 70–80% from an uncontested primary in 2012 and changed or removed party affiliation in closed primaries. Arizona being the most dramatic and blatant example where tens of thousands of voters were likely prevented from casting a ballot.
These undisputed facts should be enough to question the process but the DNC predictably relies on benign incompetence as a scapegoat. They have no intent to rectify something that has been working as designed.
(That’s before we indulge ourselves with conspiratorial twists and turns of exit polls, audits and apparent fraud.)
The Media Bias
There is no such thing as public opinion. There is only published opinion. — Winston Churchill
The media is complicit.
With respect to Sanders, mainstream media went from a total blackout to open attacks to pleas for ending the campaign, all while misrepresenting super delegates and the Democrat’s primary process.
With respect to Clinton, mainstream media gave her the benefit of every doubt and down played every negative. Imagine if CNN covered an FBI investigation of Clinton’s email with the same veracity that they covered the Howard Dean ‘Yeeah!’? (You did know CNN issued a public apology and admitted in a statement that they might have “overplayed” the incident? Right?)
With respect to Trump, no candidate has been given more attention and validation than Trump. He’s had decades of practice being a spectacle and the media is more than happy to oblige.
Politics and media are always entwined as the means to persuade and align people to agendas. The pen is mightier than the sword and all that. Then the newspaper, then radio, then television, and now we have the internet, without which there would be no Sanders campaign.
Without the social sharing of Sanders platform and dialog, there would be no platform or dialog at all.
The Time is Now
The three points I want to make explicitly are:
- Sanders has a great chance to win a general election because he activates more Independent voters who didn’t (or couldn’t) participate in the primary
- That the Democratic primary has been anything but democratic
- Our democratic republic only exists to the extent that informed and engaged citizens participate
The first point might be purely my conjecture, the second point is obvious to anyone paying attention, and the third should never be in doubt.
Anyone who says that Sanders should drop out because Clinton won more pledged delegates doesn’t understand the rules of the Democratic convention. He has the right to campaign to the last ballot like he said he would from the beginning.
Anyone who says Clinton won the popular vote but isn’t calling for a revote in Arizona is uninformed or intellectually disingenuous. Don’t talk to me about ‘Popular Vote’ when the DNC and media went out of their way to bury Sanders before voting started. Don’t talk to me about ‘Popular Vote’ while excusing anything problematic as benign incompetence and moving delegates into the win column for a candidate. Ask yourself now why the media isn’t covering rallies that are literally filling stadiums? Sanders is popular as anyone.
Running a campaign against establishment corruption means the establishment will do everything to stop you. Turns out if you want a democracy, you have to constantly fight to keep it. Maybe it is already too late.
Sanders should solicit super delegates to support the only true progressive agenda with popular support. Sanders should solicit super delegates to support a lifelong champion of social justice. That is Sanders’ right, and his true-to-his-word obligation to supporters. Sanders should campaign to the convention, not for him, but for us.
Democrats have always been the party of the people. This election will test every aspect of what that means.
(I’ll be so glad when this election is over. I still love all my friends and family who support other candidates. Forgive me my indulgences. On June 7th, I’ll vote for Bernard Sanders in the state of California as the candidate who lives his convictions and whose platform aligns with my conscience. Sanders till the end.)
Feel that Bern