Our Revolution’s Early Difficulties
Love him or hate him, Senator Sanders’ from Vermont put up a good fight in the 2016 Democratic race. He was like a political Muhammad Ali, but he was fighting with one arm tied behind his back. The Corporate, lobbyist, and Super PAC money he so adamantly rejected beat him in the end, and Hillary Clinton won the nomination. Sure, Clinton adopted many of Sanders’ policies in an attempt to seem more progressive, but many, including myself, reject the thought that she will hold on to those promises if and when she becomes president. Alas, Bernie did what he said he would in the beginning if he lost, endorse Hillary for a united democrat party to prevent a Trump Presidency. But that’s not what Sanders’ campaign was all about.
If you heard just one sentence from Sanders’ mouth, it was probably something about corporate greed running politics; he sounded like a broken record, after all. Even though he is now endorsing Hillary, who, thanks to corporate money, is worth 121 million, he has launched a new movement called, “Our Revolution,” which helps to elect non-corporate, non-lobbyist, and non-Super PAC funded politicians from school boards toSenate seats. The movement’s website also lists a number of amendments the progressive movement is trying to pass. Although in theory, all these things are great, the politicians being endorsed, the amendments, and even the movement itself is being criticized heavily.
First, eight of the fifteen staff members reportedly quit after Sander’s named his former campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, president of the movement. Members of Senator Sanders’ presidential campaign complained that Weaver mismanaged funds and created a hostile work environment. Further criticism came when Weaver filed to make the organization a 501©(4), which means they can accept large donations (like from corporationsand lobbyists), and can keep the donations in the dark. Weaver’s argument is that if they weren’t a 501©(4) organization, they couldn’t give funds to people like Tim Canova, who just lost the battle to Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her old position in Congress. The counter argument to Weaver, and why many believe Canova lost, is that because of the 501 status, although the organization can offer money, it cannot strategize with campaigning politicians. This means, Certainly for Canova, but most likely for all other campaigning politicians who are part of Our Revolution, that the organization will not be as effective as possible.
Other people criticize Our Revolution for endorsing only democratic candidates all across the board. Not a single candidate is Green Party or independent. This supports the dual party system and, although the entire list of people is full of progressives, people fear the organization is ingenuine.
Finally, the issues listed on the website say nothing about warfare. Although some really important issues are listed, the website is getting a lot of flack for not discussing the increased US involvement with the war in Syria, an issue many believe will worsen under a Clinton Presidency. Although this isn’t perhaps the most important matter, many will accuse the two party system, which true progressives believe is controlled by corporate greed (as earlier discussed), which is most blatantly backed by Our Revolution, for hiding the US involvement in the media and for keeping the 99% out of the decision making. Conspiracy theorists call it the illusion of a democracy. I’m not saying that is the case, just that the organization is being criticized.
I will say that a little bit of good is being achieved by Our Revolution. The website has a Ballot Initiatives page, which lists and describes several ballots trying to be passed by the progressive agenda. I implore you take a look, but I’ll name some of my favorites: California Proposition 62: Repeal of the Failed Death Penalty System. I’m against the death penalty on principal as it is, but did you know it costs roughly 740,000 to keep aprisoner for life, and the death penalty costs the state of California 1.26 million? This repeal also forces first degree murderers to work to pay reparations to victims’ families. This is estimated to save California 150 million a year. My second favorite is Washington Initiative 735, which denies companies the constitutional rights that human beings have. This makes my moderate senses tingle a bit, because I do believe companies should have a right to free speech and privacy and other such things, but the goal is to have less corporate influence on politics. So as long as a business can stilloperate normally, but cannot corrupt American politics, I love this idea.
It’s still very early to tell, but as it is now I believe Sanders’ Our Revolution is a failed attempt at a good idea. I’d like to see some major changes happen now, but of course that would mean political and financial suicide for the organization. My suggestion to Sanders is: go back and explore your independent roots. Maybe throw Jill Stein a bone? She’s been asking for your support this whole time and instead you endorse the one person least like you, Hillary Clinton. Take back your own organization from Jeff Weaver and control it yourself, and implement very slow change. Finally, pull a Hillary and wait 4–8 years and run for president again. She can’t beat you if she isn’t racing. Then, as president, endorse independent and minor party candidates. Throw America off the two-party system, and finish your revolution in the most effective way possible.
On the Mind is a collaborative news and opinion project headed by three politically-minded millennial contributors. To see more of our content, view regular posts and listen to our weekly podcast, follow us on Facebook.