By Chris Horton
“Bernie’s all finished” jeered the bus driver when he saw my pin. “Bernie’s out of it, done!”
Unlike most Worcester bus drivers – who still want Bernie and are eager for word he’s still fighting – this guy seemed happy to be able to tell me that … happy to be the one who has the Inside Scoop, the one who knows the Truth.
It’s all you hear on ABC and CBS, Fox, MSNBC and CNN, when they take a break from Trump Trump Trump Hillary Trump. That’s The Word according to Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and even NPR. The New York Times talks about “Bernie and the Terms of Surrender.” It’s the Accepted Truth, safe to spout if you want to be the kid with the “right answer.”
But is it true?
Has Bernie really given up?
Is it game over?
Lots of “Berniecrats” in and around Worcester don’t think so, and we’re still fighting for him. We too hear the constant din of messages that it’s hopeless; he’s promised to endorse Hillary; he’s going to announce it any day now. But we’ve learned to trust him and he says the game’s still on!
Either the Democratic Establishment and the Corporate Media truly don’t understand us or they’re engaging in psychological warfare. Or both. Or maybe they know something we don’t – like maybe they’re not so sure they really have the nomination in the bag!
Bernie keeps telling them that it’s not him they need to convince, it’s his supporters – us.
So far I don’t see any sign that they get it. If they were going to even try to win us over, you’d think someone would have talked to me by now. But then I’m not really a player – most of us aren’t – so why bother? Bernie, like any good player, will calculate what his 13 million (officially recorded) votes, his 22 states and his list of a million volunteers and donors will buy him, and he’ll negotiate a price for his support, right? And, as they keep telling us, the longer he holds off the less his support is worth, Right?
And then we’ll all follow him, right?
Wrong again! Many of Sanders’ millions of voters are a bit discouraged, but folks on the street want to vote for Bernie again – and won’t settle for anything less! And Sanders’ activists are growing angrier and more disgusted by the day! Most want Bernie to keep running. To win Bernie over, Hillary’s camp has to first win us, and our price will be steep.
We believe we’re watching the Clinton Campaign cracking under our pressure. From efforts to co-opt us, now they’re lashing out. They hate our talking about Hillary’s corporate funding, foreign governments and corporations. But our mood is summed up by Marianne Baldino of Worcester: “It’s time for everyone to wake up and take our democracy back and stop letting them pull the wool over our eyes.”
They could have just given us the words we wanted to hear in the Democratic Party Platform – no one pays it much mind anyway, right? They gave us the $15 Federal Minimum Wage and free public college for families with limited incomes. Why not the other issues that are deal-breakers for Sanders’ base?
Millions of Sanders’ supporters – led by union nurses – are in no mood to give up on health care as a human right (Medicare for all) as our health care system continues to collapse. Democrats have stood for that since Harry Truman’s run in 1948. Now we’re drawing the line!
With environmental catastrophe looming, activists see banning fracking and a carbon tax as much too urgent to wait another 4 years.
And stopping the job-killing Trans Pacific Partnership trade treaty (the TPP) is the absolute top priority for Bernie’s labor, environmental and pro-democracy supporters.
Sometimes, exasperated Hillary supporters and Democratic players ask me: given that we lost the primaries (which we don’t believe we really did,) isn’t winning two out of five good enough?
Well, yes, if you’re just playing the politics game. But these are the issues on which Bernie’s sponsors, us, draw the line!
On all of these issues, a large majority of the voting public and of the Democrats’ activists agree with us, yet Clinton’s supporters dug in and blocked them. Are they just stupid or arrogant? Or are these the issues on which their corporate sponsors drew the line? If so, we’ve set up a grand collision between the people and the corporations!
As for Bernie, at age 74 and with his Senate seat secure, he has nothing to lose but his life, and this movement to transform America is what his life has been about. He has to hold us together, so he has to listen to us!
On the other hand, the longer Bernie holds on and presents a credible threat – and he does – the more of what we’re fighting for we could win! He’s promised a floor fight at the Convention on these key issues if we don’t get them, and he’s certainly not ending his challenge for the Presidency without that now! As for us, Marie LaFountain of Webster put it this way: “people have had enough, and they’re standing up and speaking out! We’re ready for a fight!”
Bernie is asking everyone who can to come to Philadelphia. He’s not saying what he will do under various scenarios, but if you listen closely, he’s never promised to endorse Hillary. The situation has changed so much in the last two weeks, it’s clear anything could happen. So we’re organizing as many folks in Central Mass as possible to get ourselves to Philadelphia!
We will have “Rally Busses” going down for the day on Sunday’s “Rally for Bernie” – his historic preconvention speech – and Monday – the march and rally to demand the Convention nominate Bernie! Or both. Some of us are carpooling and going down for 4 or 5 nights. Some are tripling up in motel rooms in outlying areas or staying on the couches of friends or local Sanders supporters, others are pitching tents in set-aside park areas or a supporter’s farm in New Jersey.
Then, we return to Worcester, mentally ready to go back into battle to elect Bernie President in November if he’s still a candidate or carry on the fight in other ways!