A Record Setting Campaign. And He is Losing?
Written by Robert Warden
The following is from Bernie Sanders’ speech from June 16, 2016.
“Together, in this campaign, 1.5 million people came out to our rallies and town meetings in almost every state in the country.
Together, hundreds of thousands of volunteers made 75 million phone calls urging their fellow citizens into action.
Together, our canvassers knocked on more than 5 million doors.
Together, we hosted 74,000 meetings in every state and territory in this country.
Together, 2.7 million people made over 8 million individual contributions to our campaign – more contributions at this point than any campaign in American history. Amazingly, the bulk of those contributions came from low-income and working people whose donations averaged $27 apiece. In an unprecedented way, we showed the world that we could run a strong national campaign without being dependent on the big-money interests whose greed has done so much to damage our country” (http://time.com/4372673/bernie-sanders-speech-text-read-transcript/).
Although I could find no site that keeps records regarding political campaigns, there appears to be widespread agreement about these facts that Bernie Sanders’ campaign for President has achieved several crucial records in comparison to all others. In fact, there is more. For eaxmple, the largest single political rally, by all accounts, was last month in Oakland, California, where police estimated that 60,000 people showed up. Also, the Sanders campaign has to date received more than 222 million dollars in individual campaign donations, almost equalling the superpac driven total of Hillary Clinton.
No doubt, such numbers show the strength and massive appeal of Sanders’ message and agenda. Yet, by all appearances, he has virtually lost his primary bid to Clinton. That Bernie Sanders has not been able to prevail, shows that the influnce of the political establishment — despite the anti-establishment mood in the United States — and the pull of the media still appear to outweigh the power of populism and the social media. I had hoped otherwise, and had written about that earlier in the campaign, but as I had mentioned, this campaign would be a test of people power, and especially the social media. It appears that we are not quite there yet, except with younger voters. But we must keep in mind, even those of us who are ardent Sanders supporters, that Hillary Clinton also has strong support.
There are those who think that she could not have won without widespread election fraud. I am not ready to go there, but I can speculate that there has probably been some of that in her favor too, as I have mentioned in another blog. Now, there is in fact a lawsuit underway, based upon the suspicious exit poll discrepancies from official results which favored Hillary Clinton in many states, especially where untraceable voting machines were used. If one thing can pull down her campaign, perhaps that is it; but, there is no “smoking gun,” no signs pointing specifically toward her. It appears that malfeasance probably took place, but so far no proof that it happened, and if it did, who was behind it remains unknown. Hillary friendly election officials in those states in question could have been. Would such election fraud have been enough to change the outcome of the primaries? With all the complexities and interactions regarding public perceptions involved, it might have but we have no way of knowing that. Big wins in “southern” states in March, with the aid of election machine tampering, might have discouraged Sanders supporters and allowed the media to continue presuming that Clinton would win the primaries, but we can only speculate about that.
However, the fact is that politicians who set records the way that Sanders has, should be winning elections. That this has not happened, is very discouraging, at least in the short term. Yet, even now that Hillary Clinton seems set to win the Democratic Party nomination, we cannot count Bernie Sanders necessarily as the loser in this race, especially if we think in the long term. Tasks which Sanders has set forth in speeches such as that cited above, include encouraging progressives to run for office — even local office — in order to build a progressive political base; defeating Donald Trump, whose apparent nomination tells me of the strength of the anti-establishment mood in the United States, as well as the unintentional power of the media to make a frontrunner out of someone who should not even be considered a serious candidate (while at the same time making a person who should be a frontrunner like Sanders, into an annoyance to be dismissed as quickly as possible); electing as many progressives as possible, or at least Democrats who won’t be full-on corporate fascists, instead of Republicans who we know will take this nation in the wrong direction; and to influence the Democratic Party platform to be more progressive and include Sanders’ goals. Unfortunately, as we speak, Democratic Parrty convention committees have rejected calls to oppose TPP (even though Hillary Clinton herself says she is now against it), end fracking, or raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Perhaps there will be major concessions to Sanders agenda, but that remains to be seen. If not, I expect turmoil at the convention and possible political chaos, although Sanders himself seems committed to not running an independent campaign. A lot may rest on who Hillary’s choice for Vice President is, as well.
I agree with all of these goals, and I believe that it is our responsibility as citizens to not only keep this movement going, but to expand it over time. Even should he not be on the ticket, Sanders makes a fine leader in this regard, and hopefully he will have the full support of other progressive in politics. I don’t think the way forward is to be ruled by anger, fear, cynicism, or impatience. Good things take time to build, but if we stick with it, the Bernie Sanders revolution can be the real winner, and judged so by history. There is too much at stake here for us not to do so, and thankfully, the power of the Sanders campaign has shown the way forward and given us cause for long term optimism.
|Read Bernie Sanders’ Speech to Supporters|