When Barack Obama was nominated for President in 2008, he offered Hillary Clinton, as the price of her support, a Cabinet post and the promise to back her candidacy in 2016.
Bernie Sanders asked much less in return for his support of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy—merely a non-binding Democratic platform that supported his progressive agenda. He didn’t even get all of that. The Democrats have come around to a $15 an hour minimum wage, but refuse to take a stand on fracking or the odious Trans Pacific Partnership agreement.
The difference between 2008 and 2016 is that Obama and Clinton were both candidates of the status quo (which I didn’t realize then) whereas the Sanders candidacy was a real threat to the moneyed interests that who support Clinton.
It is not that Sanders supported anything radical. Although he called himself a socialist, he ran as a Hubert Humphrey Democrat. He supported restoration of New Deal programs that worked well in the past and a few programs, such as Medicare for all, that have worked well in foreign countries, while having little to say about foreign policy.
But to enact these modest reforms would require a real political revolution because they are unacceptable to the kind of bankers and billionaires who made Bill and Hillary Clinton rich.
Clinton’s basic position is that what exists is the most we can hope for, but she will save us from a change for the worse. She is threatened, morally and politically, by the idea that a better world is possible.
Bernie Sanders’ achievement was not what he did, but what he showed was it was possible to do. He showed that it is possible to run for office with the support of ordinary people without being vetted by rich donors.
Next time around, maybe somebody with less personal baggage from the past than Sanders, somebody who starts earlier than he did and organizes more effectively, somebody with a little more charisma will take up where Sanders left off. And maybe that person will use Sanders’ small-donor list.
Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans by Ted Rall for Counterpunch.
Clinton Writes Off the Left by Michael Tracey for The American Conservative. [added 7/30/2016]