Sorry Bernie, Hillary’s “Shift” on College Is Not Your Doing
The online Sanders’ communities are abuzz. Apparently Hillary has shifted her position on tuition-free college to the left. According to most accounts from Bernie supporters, this is a sign of some victory for a slowly fading Sanders campaign. Of course, when asked to explain how Sanders was able to achieve this victory so late in the game, we get little more than faulty reasoning padded by long silences.
Hillary’s shift is not because of Bernie Sanders. It’s because of Jill Stein.
While it is true that Bernie supports tuition-free public college, Jill goes a step further. Namely, Jill is pushing for a complete bailout for the millions of indebted college students around this country.
More important, Jill has crafted what may amount to the strongest possible messaging on this issue. Rather than framing this simply as a means to address the changing technological vs. jobs landscape, Jill has rightly compared her plan to the trillion dollar bailout of Wall Street. Given Hillary’s Wall Street ties, the political potency of this comparison should not be underestimated.
Surely though, Jill is not the only person who has called for cancellation of student debt, right? And even if Bernie didn’t address the debt crisis as strongly, or have the same strength in messaging surrounding free college, why should we attribute this shift to Jill? How could she possibly have more sway over Hillary and the Democratic party than Bernie?
Bernie Is No Longer a Contender
The fact that this announcement was made just following the FBI’s decision not to recommend indictment is not insignificant. The FBI was, if you will, Bernie’s last serious hope at capturing the Democratic nomination. So while Bernie can continue to try and take over the Democratic party machinery from the bottom up, the simple fact is that the only significant threat remaining to a Hillary Clinton presidency is a third-party “spoiler.”
Assuming Brand New Congress has any legs to begin with, they will not represent any serious threat to the Democratic establishment until 2018. The platform drafting committee was successfully railroaded on all but the most insignificant of concerns. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was internally decommissioned weeks ago. And lastly, even some of those progressives which Sanders’ helped to promote have taken to endorsing Madam Secretary.
While it may be the case that Bernie has paved the way for someone like Jill Stein to begin getting more of the media attention she deserves, any future concessions that Hillary or the Democratic party as a whole make to Bernie supporters are predicated on the serious threat posed by her candidacy. This is why the concession was what it was. This is why the concession was when it was.
The only questions that remain is whether or not Bernie recognizes this fact and, if so, what is he going to do about it? If Bernie is interested in continuing the political revolution he set out to spark, he will have to realize that his power doesn’t lie within the Democratic party, but outside of it. More, he’ll have to act on that realization.
See you in Philly.