After agreeing to serve as a Senior Advisor to the Veterans for Bernie organization over the past year or so, I have refrained from writing articles about the Presidential primaries here at The BRAD BLOG, so as to avoid any potential conflicts of interest for the site. With that disclosure out of the way, those primaries now behind us, and the general election just months away, it seems an appropriate moment to ring in with some personal thoughts, which may or may not be shared by Brad and the site itself, on the dilemma now facing many long-time Bernie Sanders supporters, including myself.
The Sanders-led "political revolution" has arrived at a political crossroad.
Progressive supporters of Sanders cannot go back. The U.S. isn't Austria. There will be no do-over of the Democratic Presidential primaries.
The road to the extreme right (Donald Trump) is unthinkable. It entails the very real and ominous prospect of the very thing so many fought and died to prevent during World War II --- a fascist America. In turn, unabashed Sanders supporters, such as myself, are left with a limited number of options as we struggle with the difficult choice of how to move forward at the ballot box this November in the Presidential race.
Petulantly standing in place (not voting) is akin to the child who takes his football and goes home because the others wouldn't let him play quarterback. It is not a viable option. A boycott of the voting booth by progressives would serve only to reinforce the goal of GOP voter suppression. It would also betray a core tenet of the Sanders-led political revolution --- genuine (small "d") democratic accountability that can only be accomplished via participatory democracy. "I understand that many of my supporters are disappointed by the final results of the nominating process," Sanders wrote in a newly published Los Angeles Times op-ed over the weekend, drawing stark contrasts between both the two major political parties and their 2016 nominees, "but being despondent and inactive is not going to improve anything."
While some may mistake it as progressive, the Libertarian Party ticket, headed by Presidential nominee Gary Johnson, New Mexico's former Republican Governor, does not offer a progressive alternative. To the contrary, libertarianism amounts to an oblique path that is nearly as right-leaning as the now Trump-led GOP.
As I explained in 2010, in "Rand Paul exposes Libertarian Blind Spots", libertarian philosophy focuses exclusively on individual liberty vis-a-vis the government. Many of its proponents fail to appreciate the threat to individual liberty posed by "the tyranny of a corporate controlled economy." Indeed they equate corporate liberties with the liberties of individual human beings. It was that twisted reasoning that led to the Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision. Individual liberty without social responsibility, as many supporters of the Libertarian platform ultimately espouse, knowingly or otherwise, is destructive of community, an equitable economy and the environment. In 1980, David Koch, one of the infamous Koch brothers, became the Libertarian Party VP candidate. That selection alone speaks volumes about the party's core values.
With those options out of the way, we are left with either turning to the left --- where one can find a far more progressive platform than that offered by the Democrats, with the Green Party's nominee for President, Dr. Jill Stein --- or, moving directly forward with the now Sanders-endorsed Democratic Party Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton, a candidate who openly embraced an extraordinarily progressive Democratic Party Platform and many, but not all, of the core goals of the Sanders-led revolution during her DNC Acceptance Speech.
The path that thoughtful progressives choose should be guided by both their understanding of the scope of the Sanders-led political revolution and the wisdom behind Otto von Bismarck's astute observation that "politics is the art of the possible"...