There are calls from all sides for Bernie Sanders to step down and concede the race before it’s over. Despite the fact that he said many times over that he will stay in the race until the last ballot is cast and last vote counted. It doesn’t matter to Sanders or his supporters that the odds are impossible against him, or that mathematically he’ll never catch up to Hillary Clinton even if he won every single race until the primaries are over because of the lack of support from the superdelegates. Hillary shills like CNN and MSNBC spend every night of their precious prime time air time, having different ‘experts’, political commentators and even staticians come in and Hillary-splain to its viewers on why Sanders can’t and won’t win the nomination and they end it with, “he’s dividing the Democratic party”, for those that are slightly more hysterical, they equate the current Democratic Party divide to that of the Republican Party divide and if we head down that road, it’ll spell doom and disaster.
For the uninitiated, the pledged delegates are the delegates won with primary votes, and those are split alongside winning percentage. So if Clinton won 30% of the vote and Bernie Sanders won 70% of the vote in a state’s primary, Clinton will be be awarded 30% of that state’s delegates, and Sanders gets 70% of the delegates. For Republican primaries and caucasus, some states are winner takes all, meaning if any candidate wins 51% of the primary votes in that state, they get to take all of the pledged delegates. Then there are the superdelegates who are the Democratic Party’s elite (Governors, Senators and other high ranking positions) and they are free to cast their vote for any candidate they like at the convention and what’s more they are allowed to change their vote depending on how the political wind changes, they are not tied or bound to any candidate and so they are also referred to as unpledged delegates. This electoral system normally goes to benefit establishment candidates and according to the DNC (Democratic National Committee) — it prevents a Donald Trump-like situation, meaning if the voters go apeshit and vote for a candidate like Trump, the party elites, those that know what’s best for the country and party, will have recourse to choose a more appropriate candidate. For a clearer explanation on how our convoluted electoral system works, refer to this link.
Now that the housekeeping rules are out of the way, let’s get to why Sanders should stay in the race and the red herring that is party unity.
First of all, if this election is being compared to a sport competition, the losing team wouldn’t quit the game until the last buzzer is rung. To quit the game even if you are far behind is unsportsmanlike behavior and being a sore loser or just a loser period. And you are also giving your opponent an easy win, if your opponent is to win, make them work for it and if you are to lose, to use a football term, “you leave everything out there on the field.”
Secondly, Hillary Clinton was in this exact same position in her bruising primary battle against Barack Obama in 2008, she didn’t quit the race until the bitter end. It was finally at the convention where she graciously “released” her delegates and asked everyone to rally behind their candidate Barack Obama with “no way, no how, no McCain”. Everyone applauded her, her supporters openly wept, Michelle Obama gave a gracious speech of how Hillary Clinton made 18 million little cracks in the impenetrable glass ceiling (that was how many votes she earned in the whole primary process) and that she paved the way for many women wishing to join national politics. Hillary Clinton went home to New York to nurse her wounds. President Obama rewarded her support with a plum post as Secretary of State and now she’s back again, poised to take the top prize for herself this time. This was, in fact, her plan all along. Those who thought that we’d see the last of her after she stepped down as Secretary of State were kidding themselves.
So, why should Sanders at this juncture step down? Granted, he’s far more behind Clinton than Clinton was behind Obama at this same stage in 2008, but why does that require Sanders to step down? If Hillary Clinton is to ultimately get the nomination, she better earn it, why should Sanders (or any other opponent) make it easier for her? Yes, dealing with Sanders supporters everyday on the campaign trail must be so tough. To answer questions on her very hawkish foreign policy positions and unconditional support for the fascist state that is Israel, and her husband instituting the mass incarceration of black and brown people and gutting welfare to the most needy must be really irritating. That’s the heat of the kitchen.
When Sanders ran for president, he didn’t run on the premise that he would win, of course he would love to win the nomination but he was only polling at 3% nationally, Sanders’s real aim is to create a political revolution to get big corporations and their rotten money out of politics. He wanted to run a different kind of campaign, without superpac money, without dirty money, without lobbyist support, only the support of the people. By the people, for the people. Many of Sanders positions are hardly radical, but after 8 years of the neocon and war criminal Bush Jr. and 8 more years of neoliberalism and a drone enthusiast Obama, what once seemed reasonable is now radical.
Not policing the world with our military is radical, not bullying developing and third world countries is now radical. Not instituting regime change in other countries to suit our national interests is radical, hell, minding your own fucking backyard and cleaning up the shit there first before you go foraging in other people’s backyard is now a radical idea. A $15 per hour minimum wage is radical. Free college for publicly funded community colleges and four-year universities is radical. Asking multi-national corporations and the super rich to pay their “fair share” of taxes is now a really radical idea. Cutting up free trade agreements and ending fracking so that we don’t destroy the one planet we can live and breathe on is now very radical. Admitting that ‘free-trade’ isn’t really free, and it’s paid for with backs of workers in all of North America (not just American factory workers) is somehow blasphemous to the Capitalist creed. Challenging the ideas of rampant free-market capitalism is sacrilegious. Telling the police to do their jobs without shooting people to death is unfair, because they are afraid of all big and tall black and brown people. Updating our country’s crumbling infrastructure and at the same time putting millions of people to work is radical and unfeasible. Social security needs to be increased and not reduced is socialism rearing its ugly head. Having a single health payer system like many other advanced nations is radical because it’s allowing government to intrude on our lives. Newsflash: they already are, women’s right to abortion and access to free contraceptives are slowly being eroded with one court ruling after another.
Any time I hear any politician or anyone for that matter say “but how do we pay for all of this?” The first response is: shut the fuck up (or STFU for short), and if we can spend TRILLIONS for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and continue to spend that kind of money overseas, we can pay for everything and anything we need in this country. The supposed budget deficit is not caused by costs of welfare, medicare or social security, it’s caused by funding illegal wars overseas. Wars that American people didn’t sanction, wars that Congress didn’t approve. The second source of the deficit in our budget is all the tax breaks given to multi-national corporations and tax loopholes which allows them to stash their cash overseas, while their executives enjoy skinny lattes at their desk every morning while their employees wear diapers at the production line because they are denied bathroom breaks.
(On that note, please everyone boycott Tyson’s, Perdue, Pilgrim’s and Sanderson Farms – these multi-national corporations while raking in billions making salt soaked, chlorine bleached, disgusting, plastic tasting chicken deny their workers bathroom breaks.)
And what are Hillary Clinton’s positions on these issues? Before Obamacare there was Hillary-care, a healthcare plan she devised when she was First Lady as a sort of prelude to a single health payer plan, it went nowhere but at the time it was bold and for the longest time she was for the single health payer plan. This was her platform, to bring good health insurance to everyone in this country. Recently? She’s hemmed and hawed saying the country just implemented Obamacare, to radically change the system again after Obamacare was just getting into groove would cause a lot of people to lose their existing plans. In other words, the insurance industry bought her off. We already know her hawkish stance on foreign policy matters, while she was Secretary of State she didn’t negotiate the Iran Deal in good faith because she thought it would go nowhere and also her pro-Israel stance prevented her from actively engaging in negotiating the Iran Deal. When Secretary John Kerry got a deal with the agreement of the international community, she tried to claim credit and said she laid the groundwork. She cast that disastrous vote to invade Iraq based on false intelligence of having WMD, there were no WMDs, now her supporters wants everyone to forget about it and those that keep bringing it up, i.e. Bernie Sanders and his supporters, we are told that we are being childish and it happened so long ago. It’s so 2003 and we all need to get over it and move on. Not so fast, the US military destroyed a functioning state (weakened by sanctions but still functioning) and all if its institutions. Iraq, the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein not withstanding, is an ancient land where multiple sects, religions and ethnicity coexisted together in relative peace. It is the place of many World Heritage Sites (along with Syria). Now it’s a lawless failed state, filled with corrupt politicians in Baghdad and lawless gangs on the streets with guns and improvised bombs. It is essentially ungovernable, just shy of being a total failed state. Millions of civilians have been killed, maimed and lives destroyed, so, no we will not forget this bloodshed nor should Americans forgive the legislators and leaders who allowed this to happen. In light of all this, her being a corporate shill who accepted millions in speaking fees as a form of political bribe or serving on the board of Walmart as it stripped workers of their organizing rights are the lesser of her crimes.
On the charge that Sanders is dividing the Democratic Party when it should be unified to fight the evil force that is Trump, therefore Sanders should drop out so the party can unite. We are too late for that, the party was already divided. Whether Sanders drops out now will make no difference. Before Bernie Sanders came onto the scene, there was already an insurgency from the Left, it manifested itself in the Occupy Movement, most of it was very grassroots, but the unrest was there. People no longer accept the current Democratic Party in its present manifestation, nor do they accept neoliberalism as the status quo, all was needed is a candidate to harness all of that discontent. Many argue Sanders doesn’t go far enough, perhaps, but he has brought many of the anxieties of the out into the open and there’s no putting that back into Pandora’s Box.
Hillary Clinton revealed herself to be a corporate feminist. She’s a feminist for the corporate elite, the aspirational women with college degrees and career paths, people who resemble her, neoliberals who are destined for the corporate world. She’s not a feminist for the Berta Caceres of the world, or the checkout girl who works at the local grocery store at minimum wage, or the receptionist who works at fancy law firms or what someone brilliantly call the “unnecessariat“, which is further extrapolated from the term precariat, coined by economist Guy Standing:
[They] refer to workers whose jobs were insecure, underpaid, and mobile, who had to engage in substantial “work for labor” to remain employed, whose survival could, at any time, be compromised by employers (who, for instance held their visas) and who therefore could do nothing to improve their lot. The term found favor in the Occupy movement, and was colloquially expanded to include not just farmworkers, contract workers, “gig” workers, but also unpaid interns, adjunct faculty, etc.
The unnecessariat takes this idea one step further:
Looking back from 2016, one pertinent characteristic seems obvious: no matter how tenuous, the precariat had jobs. The new dying Americans, the ones killing themselves on purpose or with drugs, don’t. Don’t, won’t, and know it.
Here’s the thing: from where I live, the world has drifted away. We aren’t precarious, we’re unnecessary. The money has gone to the top. The wages have gone to the top. The recovery has gone to the top. And what’s worst of all, everybody who matters seems basically pretty okay with that.
[A] world in which a significant part of the population has been rendered unnecessary, superfluous, a bit of a pain but not likely to last long. Utopians on the coasts occasionally feel obliged to dream up some scheme whereby the unnecessariat become useful again, but it’s crap and nobody ever holds them to it.
If there’s no economic plan for the Unnecessariat, there’s certainly an abundance for plans to extract value from them.
And the unnecessariat? A lot of them are women. It’s the women who are dying from alcoholism, drug overdoses, suicide or a combination of those at alarming rates. Women always outlived men. Where is the concern of Hillary Clinton, the most prominent feminist of our time, where “women’s rights are human rights” for the unnecessariat?
The majority of low wage work are occupied by women, Bernie Sanders raising the national minimum wage to $15 an hour will first and foremost benefit women who are subsisting on two or three minimum wage jobs, many of these women have children and are single parents.
Regardless what happens to Bernie Sanders’s candidacy, regardless if the “math” ever adds up or not, he brought about a political change, to call it a revolution may be premature. He challenged the economic status-quo. Large income inequality is not normal and it’s not acceptable. Extreme poverty in modern times is not the result of scarcity or unforeseeable weather events such as drought and floods. Modern technology have alleviated many of these concerns yet we still have large pockets of the world who are struggling with extreme poverty. Extreme poverty exist today is because of greed and resource hoarding at the top. When the Clinton campaign couldn’t attack Sanders personally, they attacked his supporters for being too white, too male and by default sexist, misogynist and racist (The Berniebro). If that’s not the teapot calling the kettle black, I’ve no idea what is. Hillary Clinton has superpacs who pay people to online troll her opponents. All of her opponents if they are women are self-hating anti-feminist women, if they are men they are sexist and misogynist, never mind that some of Clinton’s policies and actions are the most sexist and anti-feminist of all.
It is just cowardly to ask one’s opponent to drop out before it gets too ugly, even if your opponent is too far behind to catch up. Since it’s established that there is no party unity to speak of at the moment, making Bernie Sanders drop out earlier than he needs to is Hillary Clinton being self-serving.
My primary is coming up on June 7, I double and triple checked our primary ballots to make sure we can vote for Bernie Sanders. I’ll be damned if anyone takes that opportunity away from me.