Trump is a blessing. Together we should trample his candidacy and rebuild the Democratic Party

“He’s not moving a party to the left,” Volpe said, he’s “moving a generation to the left.”

We The people
We The people

Source: Daily Kos

Author: Meteor Blades

Emphasis Mine

I voted for Bernie Sanders this morning in the California primary. Come November I will vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up on the “political revolution.” On the contrary.

That revolution is not the blood-in-the-streets kind that some stubborn anti-Sanders critics claim is the only kind there is, but rather a non-violent upheaval, a transformation that frees our system of billionaire, white-supremacist governance from the bottom up. Non-violent but never passive. Peaceful but not non-confrontational.

Bernie Sanders will presumably continue to be an important part of that transformation. Nobody, not even Sanders, expected he would succeed as amazingly as he has. Yet he will arrive in Philadelphia with more delegates than any insurgent campaign in a very long time. His campaign’s list of backers contains the names of 2.4 million people who have contributed more than $200 million to his campaign. On social media, he has some 9 million supporters. That’s a potentially powerful base, especially if those on it who were not already politically engaged before the campaign can be persuaded to stay engaged.

But Sanders didn’t initiate the transformation. And it certainly will not end when his candidacy ends, either tonight or next Tuesday in D.C. or in Philadelphia after the formal vote on the nominee is taken at the Democratic Convention.

Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ activists, 350.org, the Fight for 15, nurses and teachers organizing, the Moral Monday Movement, and Moveon.org arejust a few of the many movement elements of that transformation—some successful, some not, all of them feeling their way along, smeared by media narratives, hindered by internal divisions, and tactically flawed—though their various critics, left and right, have different views on what the specific flaws actually are.

These movement organizations are a big part of transforming both attitudes and policies and thereby the breadth of the national conversation. Without them, Sanders’ candidacy would not have been possible. The campaign built on their hard work, drawing volunteers and staffers from their ranks.

Since the issues that brought forth those movement organizations have not been resolved, they and other newly formed organizations will continue to mobilize people to fight for systemic change. Because the Democratic Party has for so long been moving in a bad direction in several matters, the fight to transform it will continue as well.

But for the next five months, we Sanders, Clinton, O’Malley and none-of-the-above activists have a golden opportunity. Because Donald Trump’s sketchy candidacy can turbocharge our efforts to knock Republicans out of office and reform our own party. However, we’ll have to suppress some of our differences, chill our internecine partisanship, and bite our tongues temporarily to make it happen.

After 50 years of moving the Republican Party ever more rightward, ever more whiteward, the logical extreme has been reached. Donald Trump, carnival barker and snake oil salesman, the first major party candidate about which The New York Times felt the need to discuss the “f” word—fascism—will be the GOP nominee unless he decides he’s tired of the act he’s been performing for the past year and abandons the party at the convention door.

Fascism is not a word to be used lightly. In the 1960s, some on the left practically made a joke of the label, promiscuously attaching it to anybody or any policy they disagreed with. So I’ve always applied it with extreme caution. Nonetheless, while Trump may not mesh perfectly with definitions of fascism, there’s more than a whiff of the brownshirt in his public pronouncements. Those along with his relentless lying, misogyny, racism, anti-Semitism, and general know-nothingism make him a rich target for the kind of devastation Clinton and Elizabeth Warren have dished out recently. A full-bore crushing of his candidacy could inflict collateral damage on the GOP all the way down the ballot.

With wealthy donors saying they won’t support Trump, leading Republicans saying they won’t vote for him, and the candidate’s continual dissing of groups of people from which he might otherwise get at least a few votes, Trump faces an uphill battle against Clinton despite the high percentage of Americans who view her unfavorably.

With that in mind, supporters of Clinton and Sanders and O’Malley should join not merely in defeating but in demolishing Donald Trump’s candidacy and, in the process, damaging the Republican Party in Congress and the state legislatures by hanging the man’s contradictory statements around the necks of every candidate who says they support him. Defeating Republicans who might not otherwise be vulnerable this year can open doors for those desperately needed Democratic Party changes.

Bernie and those of us who support him can do a lot to help deliver this victory.

The senator should spend the months after the convention barnstorming in support of the best candidates, including the dozens that berniecrats.net has identified as being transformationally minded.

Each Sanders supporter should “adopt” a down-ballot candidate, a transformative person running for, say, a state legislative seat. We need to build that deep bench of experience in governing at the local and state levels anyway, and a presidential year like this one could mean significant gains in those arenas. These candidates should get our time, our money, or whatever support we can provide.

Sanders should continue to deliver his galvanizing, vital, and yes, angry message about the perniciousness of concentrated economic power. While Bernie has supporters in all age groups, the most avid are young people, including women and young people of color. If anyone can, he can persuade them not to make the mistake of staying home on election day even if that means many of them feel they must vote with a clothespin firmly in place.

All that, plus Sanders’ effort to get platform concessions passed or promised at the convention, is the inside strategy.

But as reformers have known from the time the Quakers went to Congress in 1790 seeking to end slavery, transformational change requires both an inside and an outside strategy.

Despite the “democratic socialist” label and an endorsement from the Democratic Socialists of America—an organization (full disclosure) of which I have been a member since 1982—Sanders himself is not a socialist, as many observers here and elsewhere have noted for the past year. He is  a social democrat and not even a radical one. The ideas he has pressed forward, like universal health care, paid leave, free college tuition, and a more substantive social welfare system are only radical in the United States.

Those ideas and others have resonated particularly with young people. A Harvard Poll taken in April concluded that political attitudes of American youth have changed in just the past year. John Della Volpe, the polling director, says Sanders is a big reason. “He’s not moving a party to the left,” Volpe said, he’s “moving a generation to the left.”

Several organizations hope to capitalize on that leftward movement and do some moving of their own. Included among them are the Occupy Democrats, the Brand New Congress, the Working Families Party and the People’s Summit, an alliance of National Nurses United and People for Bernie,  which will gather in Chicago June 17 to 19.

On July 23, the day before the Democratic Convention begins, the People’s Convention will get underway in Philadelphia. The organization is developing and ratifying a People’s Platform that Sanders’ delegates will present to the Democratic National Convention. On the group’s website is laid out the intent:

The People’s Convention in Philadelphia [is] a grassroots attempt to reclaim our democracy by uniting behind a common policy framework, rather than a personality or party. Leading up to our first People’s Convention this summer, grassroots organizers from around the country will work together to formulate a People’s Platform: a unifying set of ideas, beliefs, and values that will help define the movement.

This platform will also serve as a critical mechanism to hold elected officials accountable; public representatives who pledge to uphold this platform, but fail to do so through their votes and other public behaviors, will no longer be eligible to seek endorsement or support from The People’s Revolution.

D.D. Guttenplan at The Nation wrote about the Brand New Congress:

Brand New Congress aims to give people a choice—in every district in the country. “Let’s run one campaign to replace Congress all at once (except those already on board) that whips up the same enthusiasm, volunteerism and money as Bernie’s presidential campaign,” says the group’s website. Zack Exley, who was the Wikimedia Foundation’s chief revenue officer before he started traveling the country to lead “Bernie Barnstorms” that trained thousands of volunteers for the Sanders campaign, is one of the group’s founders. They’re targeting the 2018 midterms because, Exley told me, “it takes a while to build the infrastructure to win elections—especially against entrenched incumbents.” The plan is to “recruit a full slate of candidates from people who are not politicians. People who never considered running for office. The majority will be women. A disproportionate number will be people of color. These will be people who are really good at what they do—nurses, engineers, teachers. People who have chances to sell out—but didn’t.”

That prompts lots of questions, beginning with how Brand New Congress can possibly win with progressive candidates in deep-red districts. Exley says the strategy is still up for discussion. And while the group may have set a hugely ambitious goal, I’ve met too many accomplished Sanders organizers in too many states who told me their only contact with campaign headquarters was “a visit from this guy Zack Exley” to dismiss the effort out of hand.

Ramon Ryan, a former organizer for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees who’s been working for Sanders in Nashville, said the campaign taught him “how effective we can be organizing ourselves in our own communities.” Tennessee was another tough environment for Sanders supporters, and after the primary “a lot of us have been struggling to figure out where we fit in,” Ryan says. For him, Brand New Congress—which aims to build on the Sanders network, letting local campaigns run their own show while giving them access to a unified national campaign and national online fund-raising—offers an alternative to surrender or a return to marginality. “We’ve seen how the nature of presidential campaigns has changed from Dean to Obama to Sanders,” Ryan tells me. “We want to take this model and apply it to Congress. I love the simplicity of being able to use one campaign to effect so much change.”

One big argument among left-of-center activists for what seems like millennia has been whether inside or outside strategy is the better approach. To reiterate, they both are essential. Both working in tandem has been the way almost all transformational reforms have been achieved.

Working together now to trample Trump’s campaign and spread the pain to down-ballot Republicans doesn’t mean the struggle to bend the Democratic Party in a better direction is over. That fight is existential, so it will continue.

But calling a truce while we pulverize the Trump candidacy benefits all of us. A Trump victory will harm us all. And not just a little bit. We should deploy this gift Republicans have given us like the wrecking ball it is.

 

See:http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/06/07/1534536/-Trump-is-a-blessing-Together-we-should-trample-his-candidacy-and-rebuild-the-Democratic-Party?detail=email&link_id=16&can_id=d57025b8908d671dcc8edc84e5855f8f&source=email-gracefirst-major-anti-trump-ad-is-out-and-it-is-devastating-2&email_referrer=gracefirst-major-anti-trump-ad-is-out-and-it-is-devastating-2&email_subject=grace-first-major-anti-trump-ad-is-out-and-it-is-devastating

The media’s big Bernie Sanders myth: Here’s how we build the coalition that shatters Clintonism, neoliberalism

Hillary-bots argue that Sanders only appeals to white Iowa & New Hampshire voters. Here’s how he proves that wrong

Source:Salon.com

Author:Anis Shivani

Emphasis Mine

Bernie Sanders is showing swift-footedness in making all the moves necessary to not only establish but consolidate his new front-runner position in Iowa and New Hampshire. Some in the media may not yet have caught on to the way the momentum continues to shift, but eventually the reality will sink in.

There are three things Sanders needs to do—and has already started doing in a noticeable way—to move clearly and permanently ahead of Hillary Clinton at the national level: a) dramatic emphasis on minority outreach; b) expansion of his economic message to one of social harmony; and c) delegitimization of the negative populism pervasive in the Republican primary.

Already, Cornel West has given a rousing introduction to Sanders in South Carolina. Sanders has been trying to reach out to the Congressional Black Caucus, though not yet with much luck. They might as this message becomes clearer: Sanders is a much better deal for minorities of every stripe—from embattled African-Americans to Hispanics and Asians and others—because of what his policies of economic justice represent compared to the neoliberal repressiveness of Clinton and the establishment Democratic Party.

The Clintons talk a good game when it comes to African-Americans (Bill, after all, was supposed to be our first black president before the real first black president showed up) but the truth is that Clintonian neoliberalism really tightened the screws on African-Americans by legitimizing extreme income inequality as the normal course of things—smashing, in effect, the Democratic Party’s bargain with minorities since the New Deal.

The Clintons ended welfare as we knew it, for example, by delusionally hoping that technology-driven productivity would somehow make poverty cease to exist, or by expanding the surveillance, prosecution and incarceration capacities of the state, building on the war on drugs initiated by Ronald Reagan to impose a stark omnipotence much less forgiving of mistakes made by poor people. Rhetorically—and emptily—the Clintons may align themselves with African-Americans, and claim some sort of honorary status with that community, but their policies have been death—literal death on the streets—for African-Americans.

It is a myth created by the establishment media that Sanders’ appeal is limited to well-educated white coastal liberals, particularly males, and that he has a natural barrier to how far and deep his support can extend. The claim is that South Carolina—and then Nevada with its Hispanic population—will be the firewalls that will break Sanders’ momentum if he wins in mostly white Iowa and New Hampshire.

But the truth is that Sanders’ potential appeal to minorities is unlimited—unlike Clinton’s upper limits due to the nature of her past and present policies and her utter incapacity to enunciate anything real that resonates with people beyond recycled neoliberal micro-platitudes. Therefore, Sanders must go for broke in reaching out to African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians as their natural candidate, and in the process rewrite the whole script for how the Democratic Party courts voters. New, and unprecedented, promises must be made to shatter the silence around issues that neoliberal candidates have zero interest in highlighting.

Secondly, while it has so far been a necessary and indeed winning strategy for Sanders to emphasize a straightforward recital of agenda items—especially single-payer healthcare, free college tuition and a $15 minimum wage (outlined by Jonathan Tasini in “The Essential Bernie Sanders and his Vision for America“)—Sanders needs to open this up to a message of optimism that reaches well beyond the listing of economic policy items. Britain’s Jeremy Corbyn has already shown how to do this.

Of course, these need to continue being hammered into consciousness until they became accepted parts of liberal discourse again (as the necessary antidote to Reaganite social darwinism that we never got from the Democratic Party), but I’m sure that Sanders will also figure out a way to connect these policy prescriptions to a radically expansive vision of the good life, part of which must involve reimagining America as an honest and responsible citizen in the world community.

There’s a reason why Hillary Clinton—like Tony Blair in Britain—has always been utterly incapable of humor. It is not a character flaw, per se, as it wasn’t for Blair, but the fact that neoliberalism demands a pure administrative outlook, managing at the margins with faith in private enterprise as the only salvation, that simply does not allow any glimpse of humor—by which I really mean humanity—to peek through.

Young people everywhere are looking for this streak of humanity in an increasingly robotic, unforgiving, rules-based world. Perhaps Sanders, despite his age, or perhaps because of it, can tap into his bona fide countercultural heritage to establish new norms for millennial liberal discourse, making a rousing case for old-fashioned liberty based in economic justice.

This is the ideal Martin Luther King Jr. and other visionaries at the time were beginning to fashion when we got sidelined, for nearly half a century, by an entirely different vision—Nixonian and ruthless and divisive (Donald Trump is playing from the same script). Neoliberals, it should be noted, will continue to indulge in the false bromides of the culture wars when pressed to the wall; they remain immersed in this methodology of false attack and counterattack, rather than seeking the roots of liberty in economic fairness.

Finally, Trump has gifted almost the perfect platform for Sanders to work against: a dark populism rooted in xenophobia and protectionism, a Machiavellian worldview pitting true Americans versus the racially unacceptable other, setting the stage for Sanders’ authentic populism, rooted in participatory democracy, to make all the more sense. The contrast with Trump is one big reason why Sanders has had so much resonance.

Here, Sanders’ outreach, such as when he spoke at Liberty University and was introduced by Jerry Falwell Jr., is a longer-term investment, and it will be more difficult to gain traction with this voting constituency than with African-Americans and other minorities. But fascistic populism of the talk radio variety needs a strong counterweight, which neoliberalism for the past quarter-century, coinciding with the rise of the Clintons, has refused to provide.

See: http://www.salon.com/2015/09/20/the_medias_big_bernie_sanders_myth_heres_how_we_build_the_coalition_that_shatters_clintonism_neoliberalism/