Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Still with Bernie

picture from newyorker.com
Bernie Sanders endorsed Clinton before the convention and he reiterated that support in his speech last night, to the consternation of many of his supporters.  What I think is important to bear in mind is that his backing of his primary opponent has not been the result of any expectation of personal gain.  Think for a moment about the contrast with the Republican convention where people like Christie, and Rubio sacrificed their honor to kowtow to a man whom they had previously scorned.

Sanders is not looking for a job in the Clinton administration.  He clearly is sticking with his positions on the economy, on education and on election reform.  He is backing Clinton in spite of reservations about her entanglement with Wall Street, Big Pharma and Big Energy because he sees the Trump alternative as unthinkable.  Whatever the outcome of the November election, I foresee Sanders continuing with his revolutionary agenda, and he has in fact announced that intention immediately following his convention appearance.

It is not hard to understand the disappointment of Sanders supporters who worked hard in his campaign and who now are faced with the additional slap in the face from the revelations stemming from the hacked DNC emails.  Nevertheless, it seems risky to the point of recklessness to resort to abstention or support of a third party candidate in the name of ideological purity.  The idea that dealing a fatal blow now to the admittedly corrupted two-party system will ultimately lead to a progressive triumph is a bet with very long odds.

Even with the best and brightest in some top elective positions, governance of a country the size of the United States is mind-bogglingly difficult and complex.  The tipping point between success and failure of any agenda is always fraught with a near infinitude of variables.  A very good example of this is provided in a New Yorker article by Connie Bruck, Why Obama Has Failed to Close Guantánamo.  In spite of the implications of the article's title, I think what it demonstrates best is the incredible inertia in the country's vast political system which constrains even the most rational changes.  Given that level of  fragility in our political system, it seems all too certain that handing Trump any chance to  flood the government with his gang of thugs is an irresponsible choice.


Jim Grey said...

I admire Bernie for the principles he appears to live out in his actions. I think I've said before that I have been a lifelong conservative, and so some of what he wanted to do as President was a little too out there for me -- but I admire the man.

Mike said...

It is interesting how both the Democrat and Republican establishments misread the mood of the electorate and underestimated Trump's chances in the primary and in the general election. Polls consistently showed Bernie performing better against Trump than Hillary. Hard to say if that would have really panned out in the end, but recent trends seem to support that story line. Michael Moore has written a piece on his web site that is worth a look: "5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win". (http://michaelmoore.com/trumpwillwin/)