A few days ago I thought about what it would be like if my first choice for President, Bernie, lost to my second choice, Elizabeth Warren, or even to another Democrat. To my surprise, my thinking then, and now, is that though it would be a setback for the political revolution, it wouldn’t be a terrible thing.
Why is that? Because what is being built through the Bernie Sanders campaign is an organized, popular, multi-cultural, multi-gender, multi-issue, massive progressive network all over the country. That network isn’t going anywhere. We know that because of what happened after Bernie lost in 2016.
After that defeat, and after Trump and the Trumpublicans won control of all three branches of government, Bernie and literally millions of other people resolved to put up a fight to do all we could to oppose what we knew was coming. We didn’t give up. We kept organizing, we kept fighting, we took to the streets and went to the polls and one big result is that Bernie Sanders is surging in the polls and would beat Trump 52-43% if the election were held today, according to a story posted today at Newsweek. This is the best of any of the Democratic Presidential candidates against Trump.
This is after a couple of weeks of steady attacks on him primarily by corporate Democrats and their media outlets, like CNN. All indications are that many people have seen these attacks for what they are and are rallying to Bernie’s side in response.
The progressive political revolution is very alive and very well, and that is huge.
I’ve been working for a progressive political alternative to the Democrats and Republicans for a long time, since 1975. As those years have gone by, I haven’t changed my view that such a thing is necessary, but I’ve come to believe, based on experience and practical results, that the way to a truly democratic, multi-party political system not dominated by two corporate-connected parties, one a softer version, the other a very hard version, is through an alliance between political Independents, like Bernie Sanders, and progressive Democrats.
Based on what has happened and not happened with “third party” efforts, like the Green Party, the Working Families Party and others, it is crystal clear that the Green Party’s Presidential election approach is a failure. They’ve averaged no more than 1% of the vote in the five Presidential races they’ve run since 2000. These campaigns, since the 2000 Nader/LaDuke high point, have done little to build a stronger organization. There are some localities and even a few states where Greens have won local elections and have some political impact, but on a national level their efforts to create a politically impactful alternative to the Dems and Reps by taking the political line that there’s no difference between the Democrats and Republicans—remember Jill Stein’s 2016 phrase, “they’re equally terrible”?—has been shown to be wrong, wrong, wrong.
For a long time there have been two “parties” in the Democratic Party, the corporate-dominated wing, which has been dominant for a long time, at least since the 60s, and a progressive wing, which has had its ups and downs as far as influence. Right now is absolutely a very “up” time.
I intend to do all I can to help Bernie assume the Presidency a year from now. The fact that this is a very distinct possibility, that a democratic socialist Independent Senator (who has been working with Democrats for decades) could win the Democratic Party nomination and then the Presidency, says volumes about what is and isn’t a winning strategy for progressives.
Facts, and practical experience, should be our guide as we strive for the political, economic, cultural and social revolution the world so desperately needs.
Ted Glick has been a progressive activist, organizer and writer since 1968. Past writings and other information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.