A New Party, With or Without Bernie

Envision a new Progressive supermajority party rising, already enormous, flying from the ashes of a shriveled old Democratic Party. Struggling to rise, it could form overnight if Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent, would quit working against the rising young generations who won him power.

Those with Progressive views, 66% of registered U.S. voters, are against endless war, corporate subsidy and corruption, are protective of the environment, and champion safety nets, science and social justice. If unified they could walk away with every election. Many are therefore working to build a new major party. That is not a minority view: 60% of U.S. voters overall, 78% of Independents, want a new party.

Sanders himself has said, “The overwhelming majority of the American people know that we have got to stand together, that we're going to grow together, that we're going to survive together, and that if we start splintering, we're not going to succeed.”

Yet four times in the last year, the self-organizing new Progressive party has had at clear shot at takeoff, only to be four times blocked by Bernie.

Sanders is instead working to “unify” the deeply-divided, deeply corrupt Democratic party --- to which he himself does not belong and which is at best 28% of the registered voters — and is urging supporters to register Democratic, thus dividing Progressives, 66% of U.S. voters. He meanwhile ducks public debate on the subject, discussing it only with TV anchors who don’t grill him.

Somebody should. Perfidy stinks. Sanders owes these people.

Where The Real Power Is

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders ran for president in 2016 because young Democratic Progressives drafted him to do it. Determined to clean up U.S. politics, get us out of the wars, restore the safety nets, fight climate change, they had been unable to find anyone at the federal level of the Democratic or Republican parties who wasn’t taking global corporate money!

Bernie, an Independent (which is a nonpartisan stance not a party), had won local and federal office without party backing or corporate bucks for 42 years. Compelling, knowledgeable, passionate, but nationally unknown, Bernie was swept into the limelight and toward victory by 18-50-year-olds, the Gen-X/Millennials, intent on cultural and political change, on withdrawing from empire and rebuilding social democracy. Their mean age was 37.

Though an Independent, Bernie ran as a Democrat because the Democratic and Republican parties, two private political clubs, had shut off access to the U.S. presidency except through them. The Democrats welcomed Bernie as a candidate because as the DNC emails show, he provided an illusion of competition for their already chosen candidate, Hillary Clinton. The Democratic National Committee [DNC] figured that the man with the circlet of white hair would be easy for her to beat. In fact, thanks to the young Progressives, Bernie from the first month could land in a town one night and the next day have a crowd of 10,000-30,000, with a big chunk ready to work. When Clinton/DNC engineered an eight-month-long media blackout on Sanders news, young Progressives carved trustworthy news channels online. Clinton had mountains of corporate money. Millions of Progressives giving an average of $27 apiece outraised her three months in a row.

Neither Sanders nor his supporters knew that the Democratic primaries, which engage millions of citizens in a mummery at public expense, are fraudulent, their outcome predetermined behind closed doors. As the DNC’s attorney admits, the party views this as its right.

What the Democratic leadership in its turn had not realized was that younger people have the mathematical and technical ability to understand not only that they are being cheated but how. Far from being disheartened, they were furious. The blatantly rigged Democratic primaries between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton ended in June 2017, with the November election still four months away. Polls meanwhile showed that Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump were neck and neck, with most U.S. voters despising them both.

Independent voters, not allowed by the private Democratic Party to vote in the tax-funded primaries of most states, were 40% of the electorate, climbing swiftly toward half. Overwhelmingly pro-Sanders, these Independents would be voting in the November 2016 general election, could sweep it....

The First Missed Opportunity with the Clinton Time Bomb Ticking

Ready to charge all the way to victory with Bernie on their shoulders, Gen-X/Millennials immediately after the rigged 2016 primaries pressed Bernie, an Independent, to run as an Independent, to give U.S. voters a real choice. Since Sanders had a 60% approval rating and his supporters were already organized nationwide, that would have kickstarted a new party right then.

Sanders refused.

Instead the old Independent warhorse gave his loyalty to the Democratic Party that had just cheated him and them. As the runner-up, Sanders was by tradition owed a night of the Democratic Convention in July, to have his name placed in nomination. He explained to his supporters that instead of running as an Independent, he was going to contest the outcome of the Democratic primaries on the floor of the Convention.

He didn’t. That night of the Convention in Philadelphia in July, Nina Turner, his key surrogate, was poised to nominate Sanders when the DNC forbade her to take the stage. Tulsi Gabbard an ex-military Hawaiian Congresswoman who had left the DNC in protest against its election fraud and had endorsed Bernie, was handed the job of nominating him, a chance to speak before billions — without preparation. Sanders’ delegates, many of them young and new to the process, had traveled to the Convention at their own expense. He gathered them together not to thank them or to organize the promised floor fight but to order them not to oppose Clinton. His delegates were treated dishonestly and brutally by Clinton forces, who hounded them out of the Convention.

Sanders did not stand up for any of them and did not contest the primaries.

Theories abounded. Had Bernie’s wife Jane been threatened? Had Bernie been beaten up? Had Bernie been cloned? Had Bernie who could not be bought off with money been bought off instead with promises of power? The Neoliberal Democrats had made Sanders, still registered as an Independent, the Democratic Party’s head of outreach, of which more later....

The Second Missed Opportunity, This Time With The Trump Clock Ticking

During that July Convention, thousands more Progressives who were Sanders’ supporters were outside the Convention Hall, marching in the scorching heat and violent thunderstorms of mid-summer Philadelphia. Wet and bedraggled, surrounded by Darth Vader cops with helicopters overhead, people from every aspect of the Progressive movement were in those Philly streets.

Gen-X/Millennials vastly outnumber the Boomers, and are adept at networking. By the time that the three-day Convention was over, the seeds of a supermajority party were sprouting. Sanders had a 60% approval rating and the November election was still three months away. Supporters again pressed Sanders for an independent run.

Bernie refused a second time.

Refusing however was not all that Bernie did that second time.

He stumped for Hillary Clinton, a pro-TransPacific Partnrship [TPP], pro-fracking, pro-war, pro-corporate subsidy, corporately-funded, anti-universal healthcare Neoliberal, everything that Sanders had stood against all his working life.

The story was that Bernie had to back her, that otherwise Trump would win. Yet polls showed that Hillary probably could not beat Trump in swing states, that she would therefore lose in the Electoral College — as in fact she did. Polls also showed to the last minute in November 2016 that Sanders himself would have swept the election against Trump including the swing states that Hillary lost, taking the Electoral College. One poll on the last day before the November election, commissioned by Rep. Alan Grayson [FL-D], suggested that the Sanders’’ win would have been with 56% of the vote, a landslide.

Many under 50 therefore felt that they had been cheated by the Democratic Party — and that they had invested a year of time, money and round the clock effort in Sanders who had just betrayed them three times. They began pulling away from both Sanders and the Democratic Party.

The effect was stark.

With Progressives, Sanders had been able to rely on seeing 10,000-30,000 people at each rally. Making speeches for Clinton, Sanders could not fill what Darryl Thomas describes as ”a bathroom at Burger King.”

Third Major Chance With Clock Ticking

The Neoliberal Clinton block has a chokehold on power within the Democratic Party and fights in vicious and grade-school ways, rigging leadership elections and kneecapping any Democratic candidates who are Progressives. When Nina Turner took over the helm at Sanders’ group within the Democratic Party, Our Revolution, and tried to present a suggested Progressive platform to the DNC, the staff under Tom Perez barricaded themselves in the DNC office!

Judging from Sanders’ approval ratings in the Democratic Party, Progressives are 80% of it. Yet they have no formal power within it. Sanders, as the new Democratic Party director of outreach, remains adored, activating Progressives wherever he goes, helping young Progressives take over some local and state levels of the party, below the corrupt leadership. He insists that he can restore the Democratic Party to its former workers-party glory. Yet can even he resist what it’s become?

Cozying up to the Democratic Party’s ruling Neolibs, Sanders began adopting Neolib policies that he had campaigned against, like “regime change” (imperial overthrow of other countries’ governments), with his call for regime change in Syria scarring his bipartisan reputation for rockhard integrity. Was he also abandoning allies when they needed him? When Congresswoman, ex-military Tulsi Gabbard, who had left the DNC in protest against fraud, and had then endorsed and later nominated Bernie, stood up against the Syrian invasion, the Democratic Party turned on her. Far from defending his much tested supporter, Bernie turned his back.

The corrosive effect of Dem-Rep politics on even the initially most honorable people is evident to all who watch. Many Democratic Progressives in late 2016 therefore became intent on linking up with Independent Progressives, Green Progressives, etc. and starting a new supermajority party that would refuse corporate money, thus breaking the bonds of corporate control of our government.

If even half the remaining Progressives leave the Democratic Party, it will be down to 17%. So when Sanders re-registered as an Independent, Progressives were ecstatic, expecting that he was about to lead the ongoing exodus from the Democratic Party into a new clean one. Sanders instead actively blocked that from happening. Although Sanders is himself is registered Independent, he told his followers to register or stay registered Democratic....

The Once-in-a-century Chance

Granted, new major parties are rare. Usually, a small party takes over the lumbering machinery of one of the old major parties, as Sanders is obviously attempting to do in the Democratic Party.

There is however a realistic alternative, because these are rare times. Sanders is in a once-in-a-century position to be a key force in forming a new major party. Progressives are on their feet, effective. His own approval numbers are off the charts, with for example 73% approval among African Americans whom the media pretend he “cannot reach”. Nick Brana, one of those Sanders staff members who left in protest against the bucks from billionaires idea, sees the current situation as analogous to immediately before the Civil War when the old Whig Party refused to move on the question of slavery. Under the pressure of abolitionists headed by a charismatic speaker, Abraham Lincoln, the Whig party split, with the largest chunk flying off as the new Republican Party., born big.

If Sanders were no longer holding Progressives in the Democratic Party, but helping to found a clean new Progressive party, Progressives in their overwhelming numbers could stand together. A new party could be up and running by the end of 2017, ready for the Congressional elections in 2018, the presidential election in 2020. So Sanders got yet another chance to come through for t and 90% of voters under 40 who demand a new clean party.

Infuriating many other Progressives who had by then had it with Sanders, in March 2017 Braña with six Sanders staff members and delegates and a supervolunteer, founded Draft Bernie for a People’s Party, determined to shift Sanders’ weight on the political seesaw. Braña pulled key online talk show hosts on board, and Lee Camp, Jimmy Dore, Tim Black and Steve Grumbine also began stumping to Draft Bernie. Six months later, the group had state organizers in 43 states and all big metro areas, staying in touch through social media “slacks” and weekly organizing conference phone calls.

Meanwhile, following a Progressive Independent Party [PIP] Progressive summit on the West Coast, Draft Bernie linked with PIP and Socialist Alternative [SA] for a Convergence on the East Coast, the three issuing a call to all Progressives to meet in DC on September 8-10, with streaming video available in sister parties and through Facebook. The Justice Party got on board both times. Activists from throughout the Progressive movement, from a founder of Occupy Wall Street to the 2016 Green Party presidential nominee, spoke at the Convergence.

Dr. Cornel West, the first prominent African American to support Sanders back when Sanders had desperately needed that support has insisted, “We must admit the Democratic Party has failed us and move on….”

Senator Sanders was asked to debate that point in a town hall meeting with Dr. West at the Convergence. People were willing to listen, open to inside/outside coordination strategies.

Instead Sanders stiff-armed those not obediently following him into the Democratic Party. There was no note of apology or explanation in response to a personal invitation from Braña. Also not acknowledging an invitation signed by 50,000 of his supporters, with, according to his schedulers, no schedule conflicts, Sanders simply didn’t show up to debate. So, sure. Progressives will put their shoulders to the wheel on Medicare for All. Twenty-four groups are actively working on it. They know that it will never pass a solidly Republican House, but it’s changing the conversation, creating a litmus test for 2018 candidates. Sanders’ leadership on the issue is profoundly appreciated.

However, that power behind Sanders’ Medicare bill is more a vivid demonstration that the young in this country can move mountains than a promise that the prodigiously corrupt Democratic Party is the mountain that they intend to move.

Leaving the Old, Making Way For the New

Since the rigged 2016 primaries, Progressives have in fact poured out of the Democratic Party by the millions. Fourteen million people flooded out just in the three months between the November 2016 elections and February, 2017. The Democratic Party as of September 2017 is still hemorrhaging not only members but potential voters; 67% of the nation says that the party is out of touch with the people. Those numbers are worse than for Republicans and Trump. Approval ratings have tanked.

As the DNC/Clinton/Podesta emails show, the DNC was instrumental not only in the election rigging, but also in money laundering, sluicing money from state Democratic parties and Sanders supporters to Clinton. So the DNC is still asking for money but Progressives are no longer giving it. Donations to the Democratic National Committee [DNC] have long since dried up.

Both the Democrats and Sanders are steadily losing Progressives, their base.

Granted, replacing the Democratic Party with a coalition Progressive party will be no walk in the park. After 40 years without representation, the vast Progressive supermajority has devolved into small groups, each defending some aspect of the community from the ravages of global corporate government — arguing for a living wage, against mass incarceration, for water protection, infrastructure repair, meals at school or healthcare for all. Some won’t cooperate unless Property is denounced in the first sentence. With or without Bernie, though, they’re coming together, a new consensus is welling up, a new party without global corporate “donors” is forming....

The United States is rediscovering democracy.

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