It is the elephant in so many rooms. HRC supporters blame Bernie, the FBI, the media, and sexism. Bernie supporters blame the DNC, Wasserman-Schultz, the debate schedule, and the media. But what is lost across this divide is that in failing to heal the breach and move on, we miss how closely aligned we could be on policies, platforms, and even party leadership.
Events & Opportunities. Before diving into the Hillary-Bernie breach, I want to remind folks that on Saturday, April 29, New Energy Economy, Retake Our Democracy, Earth Care, NM Climate Action, and the National Council of Elders have organized not a march, but an opportunity for serious grassroots deliberation and planning. The focus will be on how to create a transition from fossil fuel to a sustainable economy fueled by renewable energy. Click here for more on this very important event. On the Events & Opportunities page there is also information on voting for the Pre-K initiative (polls close Tuesday, May 2) and info on the Meow Wolf Dear Patriarch, a celebration of Indigenous art and music. We also have another event to promote, a feel-good moment kinda thing. At the Cocteau, from May 5-11, The End of War will be screened at the Cocteau. Produced by local Glenn Silber who will be on hand to introduce the film on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening (with Sunday being a benefit for KSFR), this is a tremendous Academy Award nominated documentary. Retake and Indivisible will have tables on Friday through Sunday. Roxanne and I viewed this last night and it contains tremendous video of some iconic moments from the 60s and 70s. Lastly, we were saddened to hear of the closing of Skylight, a venue that had opened its doors without charge to benefits for SantaFe4Bernie, Standing Rock, and now this Saturday for the Santa Fe Dreamers. Click here for more info on all of these events.
The Elephant in the Room: Bernie vs. Hillary. Time to Move On and Find Common Ground
In reaction to Tuesday’s blog post about how capitalism dominates both political parties, I have been having a respectful email exchange with a NM Hillary supporter who is high up in DPNM leadership. We can’t seem to get past our individual sense of what could have been, and to varying degrees we point the finger at each other’s candidate. While understandable from both perspectives—much was lost in 2016, and we are paying for it now–unless we want to spend eternity in the ‘what-if,’ we need to move on.
Whichever candidate you supported in the primaries, we both lost and together we need to forge a new path. But part of that new path must involve introspection into the root causes of the 2016 defeat, how we can create an inspiring Party, and how we can restore the Party to the people. Let’s start here: by and large Hillary supporters are progressive people who are not opposed to an open party, to a $15 minimum wage, to 100% renewables, to progressive tax structures, and to regulating mega-banks. I suspect most Hillary supporters would rather make out a check every month for $27, than to go to an endless number of whatever-a-person house parties and listen to Ben Ray, Javier, Martin, Michelle or whoever. So, Bernie and Hillary supporters are not separated as much by ideology and aspirations as we are by hurt feelings. Is it possible that together we could examine where we agree and forget that if the DNC hadn’t cheated, Bernie would be president right now, and that if so many Bernie supporters hadn’t sat on their hands, Hillary would be president.
We need to move beyond those realities and the recriminations that ensue and examine what we have in common. But we also must examine what the Party could look like going forward. So I pose this question: Regardless of who you supported in the primary, would you prefer a Party that is beholden to corporate interests or one that fights unashamedly and with consistency for social, environmental, and economic justice? Would you prefer a party that was funded by millions or funded by millionaires? Hopefully, these were easy questions.
To create a Party that actually can advocate for justice with consistency, that Party must first free itself from its corporate ties. For decades the Democratic Party has been losing local and state elections with shocking constancy. Part of this has been due to the GOP’s skillful manipulation of the redistricting process, but the Democratic Party must accept its share of the blame. For far too long, as described in Tuesday’s post, Democrats found themselves in the conflict of needing a majority to vote for them, but feeling they needed huge contributions from the corporate sector and 1% to fund the campaigns. Click here if you missed Tuesday’s post. As a result, the Democrats have campaigned with the rhetoric of justice and fairness and then governed in partnership with corporate interests. Voters can only feel betrayed so many times before they stop caring, stop voting, stop paying attention, with dismal turnouts the result. And when there is a dismal turnout, the GOP does well. So, the Democratic Party’s ties to corporate donations leads to policies that ignore the working class, which leads to low turnout, which leads to frustration, even fury, which leads ultimately to today: Trump.
But Bernie Sanders rejected all of this. Please, Hillary supporters, keep reading. He would have nothing to do with big money and spoke the truth with a refreshing consistency. Here was a moment when the Democratic Party could have made a choice, it could have stepped back and let the primaries play out and it could have learned a new way of politicking, a process driven by and for the people. This was and remains not a naive dream, but an achievable future. Taking $27 monthly from millions of Americans translated into the kind of campaign trough that could fuel a progressive populist victory. Taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from several handful of glitterati, all being photo-tagged as they and their tuxedos exited limos to enter the event, projected a terrible image. We need a different path. But the DNC was and remains largely comprised of lobbyists, major donors, and entrenched career politicians. They were not about to hand over the reins to someone who was not playing by their rules, and Bernie held a mirror to the Party and to Hillary, exposing their all too comfortable liaisons with the ruling class. He raised money from the people, turned his back on the corporatocracy, and threatened to push past their lobbyists and insist on policies that benefited the majority. Why is this a bad thing?
Stop here: we know what happened; let’s not rehash. Let’s just ask this question: Would you prefer to have a Party that inspired so much grassroots enthusiasm, that motivated hundreds of thousands of young Americans to not just register but to make phone calls and canvass and donate their $27 a month? Or is it really better for the Party to cater to Barbara Streisand, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and worse, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and Monsanto?
We actually can begin answering that question right now and right here in New Mexico. As reported from multiple sources, the Albuquerque Journal, ProgressNowNM, the New Mexican, a huge outpouring of new and enthusiastic Democrats have turned out to run for Ward Chair positions, to run for county and State Central Committee positions, and to seek committee roles in the Party. This has happened in states all across the nation. DPNM now faces the same kind of choice the DNC faced in 2015-16. Do we allow this enthusiasm to take hold? Do we let loose the reins a bit and take a chance that people who have not been involved just may be able to sustain their enthusiasm and put the Party on their backs and carry it forward?
I’ll be honest, I completely understand how the long-time Democratic Party officials and volunteers can feel under attack; I get how they could be asking: Where were you in October? But as this entire post has tried to convey: you have your questions and we have ours. Can we bury them and focus on what we have in common? Because our planet is running out of time and doesn’t really give a damn about our hurt feelings. This planet will continue warming whether we are happy or not.
For the Democratic Party to mean anything, it needs to turn its back on the corporatocracy and perhaps for the first time since FDR, genuinely represent the interests of common people. And no one in this century has manifested that commitment more than Bernie Sanders. At some point, the party needs to stop tolerating Sanders and his policies and embrace him, fully. It is unlikely he will be a candidate in 2020, but the Party needs to think in terms of a very different path, a very different candidate. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Party’s need to fully embrace a Single Payer System. But there are other policies, as well: $15 an hour, 100% renewables, dissolution of the private prison system, a path to citizenship, and most importantly embracing Sanders’ fundraising model, getting money out of the election process, and embracing a truly progressive candidate. Pushing for these policies and a reformed party begins here in NM at the DPNM election, and it is my fervent hope that those of us who were so bitterly disappointed by the rigged primaries and tone-deaf election campaign remember this experience when we vote. But I also hope that HRC supporters and long-time DPNM stalwarts can recognize that it is time to turn the page. And to quote Hillary herself: Stronger Together. Or we could continue bickering and have two Trump terms and, God forbid, Pearce as Governor.
Let’s do something else together.
Roxanne and Paul
Categories: Healthcare coverage
Peoples’ Party! Democrats make way!
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Policies, NOT personalities! Policies, NOT Parties! Policies, NOT genders! Our ‘Savior’ is us! The only person out there watching out for us is us!
The Bernie-Hillary divide seems especially strong here among Bernie supporters. Being upset over Ellison versus Tom Perez and that election doesn’t help. Your blog over that took sides as I remember, but Ellison is working hard for the Democratic party. I have been amazed at the animosity over Hillary. We need to unite. Thank you for stressing that.
“So, Bernie and Hillary supporters are not separated as much by ideology and aspirations as we are by hurt feelings.”
Nope. I think this line trivializes what are in fact substantive differences between the two wings. I’d add that the Dem Party has been losing registered voters for many years, and this is also not due to ‘hurt feelings’. I think it’s much more likely due to a very isolated political leadership that is not producing what voters want.
Agree a 100% but I would like to add that it may be a waste of our time, unproductive and even dangerous spending time trying to fix the very system/s that brought us to the very edge of psychological, social, economic and environmental precipice. I do not understand, but it seems that Paul does not see/feel the contradictions between this article and the one he wrote a few days ago where he beautifully shows us the Great Manipulation of the American People brought about by the Democratic party—–Two wings (D&R) of the same bird which is right now, very happily laying its eggs, nesting in the White House and in Congress. All thanks to the lies and manipulations of the Dems.which have always been created to control working people, the 99%, us, the people. eduardo
Thanks, Eduardo. I did not think that i was being inconsistent in this series. In the prior post I described the historic alignment of both parties with the ruling class. In today’s post I point to how the Democratic Party must distinguish itself and for the first time really represent the people. I do not think a third party is viable unless it organizes almost immediately, has a magnetic candidate, and lots of money to get on ballots. Given the chances of that being near zero, what we have as our challenge is to make the Democratic Party that party for the people and that is not going to be easy, but it is our challenge.
How about Warren? Can we all be on Team Warren?
Right now she seems viable, but awfully early to be thinking in those terms, but the thought occurred to me. Once names are in the mix, Retake Our Democracy has to bow out. Our work is to engage, educate, and activate on issues and to advocate for reform of the Party.
I simply cannot believe this entire post and dialogue. Not ONE mention of Russian hacking in to our election – the flooding of Facebook, & all media with “fake news” —– all forms of media coverage flooded by Trump, terrible coverage of anything except Trump, which, by the way, had NOTHING to do with the Democratic National Committee. ALL took a toll on EVERYONE. Do you all really believe that EVERYONE who was a Bernie supporter was so smart and “above it all” that they/we were completely immune to the lies coming at us from ALL directions????? Please, if this group has turned into a bunch of people sniping at each other, well, guess what: Trump wins —-Divide and Conquer.
Russian hacking, collusion with Russian oligarchs, a president hellbent on controlling all news reporting in all media formats (seen the National Enquirer lately???? Fox News????), and yes, the republican party and some members of the democratic committee – all worked very hard, and apparently successfully, to divide us then, and clearly now. Please, please, drop the Bernie-Hillary hissy fit.
We, as a group of people, are stuck “in the trenches” fighting political, social, environmental, etc., direct attacks from every direction, every day. It is exhausting. At this moment, none of us can see beyond what’s thrown at us every day. And that’s exactly what Trump/Bannon/all the power players want: chaos, and us, in the trenches, frantically trying to protect ourselves, our families, our friends, our land, our water, our souls, from dozens of attacks from every direction, every day. I’m exhausted. Aren’t you? Please, stop turning on the very people standing next to you.
I actually agree with you about the media, am not sure that the Russian hacking has been proven, but certainly appears monkey business was likely. But Bernie was subverted by his own Party and that seemed more germane. I couldn’t go into detail about all the factors involved, but you are certainly correct about the media. It wasn’t great for Bernie either. But your comment about “turning on the very people standing next to you” puzzles me. I didn’t feel as if this post was turning on anyone other than the DNC for cheating. The intent of the post was to highlight how there are many policies where most in the party agree and that that consensus is a good place to start in healing the breach. And it seemed to me that the post was much more about healing than tearing down. If you are a corporate democrat, comfortable with $300K a plate dinners and corporate donations, then I guess we do disagree.
wow – I am no “corporate Democrat.” (!!!) Perhaps we all need to reread Andy Fertal’s plea: Policies not Party.
Very quickly – the two contingents need to come together – but most important – the democratic party would be well advised to return to socio – economic issues as the foundation of the its platform and moving to greater economic equality and opportunity combined with environmental issues – it has been Bernie and company that have emphasized this – I wonder – blame Bernie – well, unlike Nader, he graciously bowed out and supported Hillary – so what is this in relation to Nader – you are “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” .
I support coming to together – but if any Hillary supporter assaulted me verbally on this – I would verbally and figuratively load both barrels and fire – I will be damned if I am going to put up with that arrogant nonsense – and indeed – these Hillary folks need to wake up and realize they cannot and will not snuff out our new and increasingly successful movement on the left – and it is our threat to their corporate minded oligarchy that they want to snuff and intimidate and marginalize – not going to happen – and my message is we are going to “Keep on marchin, keep on singing, keep on pushing our agenda” and “we shall not be moved” and we represent the true American Patriotic Tradition and future
In relation to the first point – Miss Hillary and company learned nothing from Bernie and she and her entourage lost to a blithering pompous crackpot and worse and his entourage – that is the disgrace – she lost she pulled defeat out of victory – and learned nothing from Bernie and her own experience…….I have be aghast and still am regarding the liberal movement since the 1970’s that abandoned labor and farmers and every day American in favor of their own piss-ass upper middle class urban snotty narcissistic selves and the way they have framed their issues is in light of their interests predominantly and no one else – they need to look at the whole community and all social classes and needs and make this the foundation and have a vision – and then maybe there can be unity and success and I can even stop becoming completely nauseated when I listen to them.
I was hoping that this author would have been more neutral in approach. I don’t want to be told to “embrace” Sanders any more than I would tell him to “embrace” Hillary. I do embrace the policies in the Democratic platform that were agreed on by both candidates.
Campaign finance reform needs to be at the top of the list of issues to address when Democrats finally get control of the Congress. That way it will be a level playing field for ALL political parties.
With the energy generated in the Resistance, the changes can/will happen much faster, I believe, if we recognize each other’s passions and perspectives.
“the changes can/will happen much faster, I believe, if we recognize each other’s passions and perspectives.” And this should be the beginning of a personal and social process dedicated to paradigm change. Paradigm change can only begin in our minds and hearts, seriously. It is not just an intellectual exercise!. Within this process we need to assess if it is at all possible to ‘savage’ the Democratic Party, that is, the people that populate it. But first we need to initiate this process, each one of us personally and socially/in groups. I am willing to meet in a small group to enter into this adventure. eduardo
I doubt the party is salvageable. From single-payer to Palestine, the DNC has fought to keep change out of the platform. This was not done via mutual consent or agreement–but because the DNC insured that progressives like Cornel West were in the minority within the platform committees. Following the general election loss, DNC leadership has shown no evidence of moving to accommodate progressives. The #Resistance is largely a marketing ploy, and blaming the Russians a dangerous diversion.
The party could unite if there were policy grounds to do that. I’d happily return to the party if they shifted on the issues. But there is very little movement from leadership towards common ground–quite the opposite.
So be it–registered Dem voters will continue exit the Party, elections and seats will continue to be lost, but our Dem leaders, with their secure funding and safe (for now) districts/states, will maintain their lives-as-usual.
THIS is the conversation we must continue to have if we are to break free of the corporations and redeem our democracy. THANK YOU all for lending your voice to it.