Testing the Sanders’ Revolution

by Kevin Kelton

With the September release of Hillary Clinton’s new book, What Happened, there will undoubtably be a renewed dust-up over whether she or Bernie Sanders should’ve been the 2016 Democratic standard bearer. But it’s over a year since the Democrats settled on a presidential candidate, and it’s time we put that primary campaign on the shelf. We have a common enemy now: alt-President Donald Trump and his alt version of America. To win that Herculean battle, liberal-progressive Democrats cannot waste time and breath fighting against anything but that.

The question now is, was Bernie Sanders’ promise of a political “revolution” real or all talk. The test will come November 6, 2018.

The midterms.

If the legendary Busters and their millennial brothers and sisters in the Sanders movement show up at the polls the way they promised to had Bernie been the nominee, they will launch a real revolutionary force that can turn the Senate and maybe even the House back to Democratic control. That would be historic.

But if they continue the party in-fighting and kneecapping candidates who don’t pass their ultra-liberal litmus test – or if they sit at home like millennials have done on every other midterm election day in modern history – they will prove two things:

  1. The promised Sanders revolution was all smoke and mirrors.
  2. Hillary Clinton was the right candidate after all.

Because if they can’t be counted on to show up and vote when their arch enemy Hillary is not on the ballot, they are not really part of the Democratic party. And their alleged revolutionary movement was really nothing more than a narcissistic pity party.

To date, the independent senator from Vermont has barely lifted a finger to prod his nascent revolution back to life. Where is the legislative agenda? Where are the mass rallies? Where are the voter registration drives or candidate training programs? Where is the book explaining to Sanders’ cult-like followers exactly what they should do next? *

Or is he just holding back in furtherance of his own self-aggrandizing hopes for a second bite at the apple in 2020?

I don’t know the answers to those questions, but I do know this: if we wait for Sanders to lead the revolution, we will be waiting for Godot. No, this time, the revolution belongs to the people. For better or worse.

So, Bernie Bros., it’s time to fish or cut bait. Cook or get out of the kitchen. Vote and vote Democrat or don’t pretend you ever will.

Waiting for 2020 may be too late. The party needs you to back midterm candidates – for congress, governorships, state legislators, mayors – right down the ticket. The party needs you to canvas. The party needs you to donate, to form campus Democratic clubs, to work social media and campaign for midterm Democratic candidates the way you did for Bernie.

Because if you sit back and wait for Bernie to run again, or continue the silly quest to create a viable third party behind the likes of Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, you are a lost cause.

It’s time for Democrats to unite against a common enemy. Otherwise, the common enemy is us.

* Aside from a post-election political guide for teens and youth readers, the Washington, D.C. equivalent of a pop-up children’s book.

Kevin Kelton is the cohost of The More Perfect Union podcast and the founder of the Facebook political debate group, Open Fire.

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3 thoughts on “Testing the Sanders’ Revolution”

  1. This piece rests on a flawed premise: that the tiny portion of the electorate who backed Sanders and then refused to vote for Clinton in the general cost the Dems the election. I’m talking about, as Kelton clearly is, the most fervent Bernie fans, the so-called Busters and the even smaller subset, “bros”.

    No, the people who elected DJT instead of HRC were the hundreds of millions who were discouraged and/or blocked from from voting for Clinton, including the huge numbers who switched to Trump from Obama in the midwest. And how they vote (or don’t) in 2018 depends on whether or not Democrats as a whole can convince them they’re not the pathetic bunch the electorate deemed them to be in ’16.

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