Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Whither the Berners?

Now that everybody agrees that Hillary is the Democratic nominee, and Bernie has fired most of his staff, some are wondering what will become of Bernie's supporters — especially the young ones, previously not especially interested in matters political.  Well, it depends, I suppose.

To what extent did their support for Bernie lead those young people to educate themselves on policy matters?  I haven't seen any data, but I suspect that most of the Berners were paying attention to his message and not merely along for the exciting ride.  Hopefully, many went beyond Bernie's campaign materials for their education.  Campaign materials are necessarily simplistic, and the emergence of a new and better progressivism in the USofA requires more than slogans.  Encouraging is that some are speaking of becoming politically involved at the local level, where Democrats (as well as Republicans) are inclined to be hacks beholden only to local special interests.

There is enough sophistication among them so that some will support Jill Stein of the Green Party, but only if they live in a dependably Democratic state.  This year, though, it may be harder to determine "dependability."  I voted for Jill Stein in 2012 and Ralph Nader in 2008, but I have certain qualms about New York this year — and some other states as well — given the general craziness of 2016.

All of us on the left would be a lot happier with Hillary if we could be assured that we won't be seeing yet another "New Democrat" administration like Bill's.  In his enthusiastic pandering to alleged "centrists" who would have been dependable Republicans fifteen years earlier, Bill Clinton did more to set back progressive politics than even Ronald Reagan.  A lot of us are afraid that Hillary will give us more of the same, and would love a strong commitment to true progressivism on her part.

Filing for divorce would be a good start.

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