This is about a different exodus. Bernie Sanders made "Berxit" all but official this morning, telling MSNBC that he'll definitely be voting for Hillary Clinton this November.
But be heartened, Bernie-or-Busters. Just as it will take Prime Minister David Cameron a little while longer to finally skulk off in abject defeat, so too will Berxit be a gradual process. Just as Cameron doesn't want to upset the Market God by bolting from Number 10 too precipitously, before his successor is officially named, so too does Bernie not want to completely alienate his own supporters before his big prime-time consolation speech at the Philadelphia convention late next month.
These things must always be eased into delicately. Sanders has been giving none-too-subtle hints of his coming endorsement of Clinton, announcing just the other week that Priority Number One in his "revolution" will be "joining with" Clinton to defeat Donald Trump. How much more nuance can we stand?
That "joining" has now gingerly advanced into voting. The voting will soon evolve into endorsement and an official nomination ceremony. The nomination will morph into a honeymoon of Internet fund-raising, and TV ads, and campaigning for - or perhaps even with - Hillary on the stump. It's not so much a revolution, it's a transition toward lowered expectations.
I don't know about you, but I much prefer my band-aids to be ripped off in one quick tear. All of this incremental teasing the adhesive off of the scab that Sanders is playing at just prolongs and intensifies the agony.
You see, just because he is voting for Hillary. Bernie still doesn't want you to think that he's abandoned you, let alone dropped out of the presidential race. He delivered yet another barn-burner of a speech to supporters on Thursday, ticking off each and every progressive policy demand for inclusion in the Democratic platform. He titled it "Where Do We Go From Here?" in apparent homage to the last book written by Martin Luther King Jr before he was assassinated. King, too, tempered his own radicalism by urging pragmatism to the "militant" Black Power movement leaders. Change doesn't happen overnight, he said, nor does it happen with any one politician's election. And violence never gets you anywhere. Of course, King was writing in the days of the Great Society and the civil rights legislation born of his own brilliant activism. Neoliberalism -- control of societies and economies by unelected oligarchies and banks -- was still a distant nightmare back in the 60s.
Bernie Sanders just seems to be having a clumsy time evolving from his role as a presidential candidate who raised millions of dollars and won millions of votes into the perceived role of non-affiliated radical movement leader, following in the footsteps of Dr. King.
Although King, too, had urged his often-disappointed followers to run for public office, he had never sought or held office himself. He was never co-opted by the Democratic Party. And not only didn't he ever vow personal political fealty to Lyndon Johnson, he spoke out vociferously against Johnson's militarism, imperialism, and the Vietnam War.
Bernie is not speaking out against war. Although a vague critic of "regime change" and CIA dirty tricks, he actively supports President Obama's drone assassination program and has voted for billions of dollars in military appropriations in his capacity as senator. Posing as an outsider his entire political life, he is nonetheless a consummate insider -- despite what his colleagues and the mainstream media like to pretend. He's voted with Democrats more than 90 percent of the time.
Yet the pundits are still complaining about Bernie's continued "failure to concede".
What does Bernie even want? is their tired, constant and agonized refrain. For every day that he stays in the race, he's only hurting Hillary and boosting Trump, for crying out loud!
Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times delivered the latest appeal (published only hours before Bernie went on Morning Joe to all but smother Hillary with kisses), urging him to stop it already with the wishy-washiness. A girl can't wait forever for the engagement ring, especially if she is "less adept at campaigning." Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Hillary from Rosenthal, but still:
Bernie Sanders is making his exit from the Democratic primary campaign in such slow motion that it’s starting to feel like he might still be in the race at Christmas.Rosenthal then pivots to the standard media Bernie-diss of comparing him unfavorably to civil rights icon John Lewis, a "real" revolutionary who continued the struggle this week by staging a sit-down strike against gun violence (and paradoxically supporting the continuation of the anti-democratic No Fly List while he was at it.) Lewis still has the scars on his head to prove his bona fides. All Bernie has is a head of wispy white (white! white!) hair. This is identity politics run amok, served up by the Times to obfuscate the class war of the feral rich against the rest of us.
"The chilling scene in the House was just a taste of what Sanders followers will risk if they do not throw their undeniable enthusiasm behind Clinton and other Democratic candidates, and the G.O.P. holds Congress and wins the White House in November," Rosenthal scolded.
Bernie just can't win, no matter how valiantly he tries to passive-aggressively throw both himself and his supporters under the neoliberal bus. The pundits will probably still be asking him what the hell he wants 20 years from now. If there is, in fact, such a thing as 20 years from now in a United States of America.
Even in the wake of the mass outrage and disgust and despair evidenced by the Brexit vote and the rise of Trumpism on this side of the pond, they just don't seem to get it. They're still unwilling to acknowledge their own complicity in the creation of the worst social and economic inequality in modern history.
Brexit, Berxit: The leaders of the free world are still stuck in the desolate room which Jean Paul Sartre described so brutally in No Exit. Nobody's willing to acknowledge the reasons for their own damnation, other than to say "mistakes were made." Even when salvation in the form an open door is offered to them, they refuse to leave, preferring instead the safe misery of each other's own dead company. "Hell,"wrote Sartre, "is other people."
Our planet is alternately frying and drowning from a lethal overdose of capitalism, yet the smartest people in the room still waste precious time kvetching about a rapidly cooling Bern.
Their own insecurity is showing. Panglossian denial of the awful reality no longer suffices.