His first order of business: work with Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump. That's a no-brainer. Despite the predictions of the establishment press, the percentage of Bernie supporters defecting to Donald Trump will be minimal. The guy is that grotesque and dangerous.
Second order of business: reform the corrupt Democratic Party from within, by insisting that all Bernie's proposals make it into the "plank." This is a noble but disingenuous demand. The filthy rich donors and predatory corporations who run this show will not give up their elite privileges without a sustained fight against the weak, the suffering and the marginalized. They'll cover up their class war agenda by championing "diversity" -- the rights and interests of better-off members of the LGBT community, professional women, middle class meritocrats, the icons of the Black and Latino bourgeoisie -- while effortlessly lampooning made-to-order racist misogynist cartoon villain Donald Trump. The Democratic plot not only doesn't thicken, it's been reduced to such thin rancid gruel that even the malnourished masses feel nauseous at the mere whiff of it.
Bernie's final order of business: urging his supporters to effect change themselves, from the bottom up. He urged people to get started by running for office, right in their own communities: school boards, planning boards, town councils and county legislatures. Now he's talking sense. Change never comes from the top down, regardless of who's elected president. This goal is actually achievable.
The people who gave millions of dollars and cast millions of votes for Bernie Sanders have enormous political power, and they should use it. Whether they will be welcomed with open arms to the Democratic Party is another story. The Sanders movement could just as easily implode. Or, it could evolve into third, fourth and fifth parties, or a coalition of activists from the Fight for Fifteen, environmental justice, Occupy and Black Lives Matter movements.
Because when the Secret Service announces the building of a literal wall around the perimeters of the Wells Fargo convention center in Philadelphia in order to keep regular people out, this doesn't exactly signal inclusion. It has been officially designated a National Special Security Event. Aspirational participants in the democratic process have been transformed into potential terrorists. Just as the Democratic establishment ripped the welcome mat out from under working class feet a long time ago, so too will they continually strive to throw all things joyfully Bernie out with their tepid identitarian bath water.
But:(from the transcript of Bernie's pep talk)
I recently had the opportunity to meet with Secretary Clinton and discuss some of the very important issues facing our country and the Democratic Party. It is no secret that Secretary Clinton and I have strong disagreements on some very important issues. It is also true that our views are quite close on others. I look forward, in the coming weeks, to continued discussions between the two campaigns to make certain that your voices are heard and that the Democratic Party passes the most progressive platform in its history and that Democrats actually fight for that agenda. I also look forward to working with Secretary Clinton to transform the Democratic Party so that it becomes a party of working people and young people, and not just wealthy campaign contributors: a party that has the courage to take on Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, the fossil fuel industry and the other powerful special interests that dominate our political and economic life.Now, that was the sop to unity that I would answer with mutiny. Bernie has always been way too nice to Hillary Clinton, beginning right in the first debate when he rescued her with the specious claim that we're all "sick and tired of hearing about your damned emails." While he did eventually hound her on her Wall Street speeches and campaign contributions, he only addressed her family foundation slush fund very late in the campaign -- when it was too late to make an impact. So, will Bernie continue his knight-in-shining armor role when Donald Trump drags out his anti-Clinton oppo research and Bill's sordid history with women? We shall see.
To his credit, Bernie is standing firm on insisting that single payer health care, opposition to the TPP, the $15 minimum wage, expansion of Social Security and other "radical" policies make their way into the official party plank. However, Hillary is certainly under no legal (and obviously no moral) obligation to honor the wishes of minions. At best, she'll be forced to keep talking the populist talk until August at the latest, when her presumptive status will be safely in the rear view mirror and Bernie's convention speech has been smudged into a misty water-colored memory in her steel trap of a mind.
Given the rigged duopolistic system, Bernie is right that any struggle during this particular election season will have to be waged at the local level.
In what is very likely the template of his rousing party convention speech, he continued:
I hope very much that many of you listening tonight are prepared to engage at that level. Please go to my website at berniesanders.com/win to learn more about how you can effectively run for office or get involved in politics at the local or state level. I have no doubt that with the energy and enthusiasm our campaign has shown that we can win significant numbers of local and state elections if people are prepared to become involved. I also hope people will give serious thought to running for statewide offices and the U.S. Congress.
And when we talk about transforming America, it is not just about elections. Many of my Republican colleagues believe that government is the enemy, that we need to eviscerate and privatize virtually all aspects of government – whether it is Social Security, Medicare, the VA, EPA, the Postal Service or public education. I strongly disagree. In a democratic civilized society, government must play an enormously important role in protecting all of us and our planet. But in order for government to work efficiently and effectively, we need to attract great and dedicated people from all walks of life. We need people who are dedicated to public service and can provide the services we need in a high quality and efficient way.These words are anodyne enough so that even the Empress-in-Waiting can politely, if not enthusiastically, applaud them as she awaits Bernie's official endorsement. Stay tuned for lots of camera-ready hugs, kisses.... and the usual cascades of balloons and confetti. Keep the barf bowls ready as Hillary pays regal and shallow homage to Bernie and the Bros, welcoming them with only figurative open arms -- given that most of them will be stuck outside, watching a Jumbotron screen from behind militarized police barricades.
Meanwhile, the corporate media remains dismayed that Bernie refuses to officially and prematurely concede. They'll be asking "what does Bernie want" long after Bernie has stopped patiently answering their hundreds of inane questions to the point of hoarseness. My favorite was when a New York Times reporter asked Bernie if his failure to endorse a war hawk and Wall Street puppet makes him a "sexist."
The Atlantic sniffs:
Sanders risks losing leverage by remaining in the race. That is particularly true if it seems like the movement he has worked so hard to build is beginning to dissipate. Some of his closest allies are already giving up on his fight for the White House. On Wednesday, MoveOn.org, a progressive organization that endorsed Sanders, offered its congratulations to Clinton. On Thursday, Raul Grijalva, the first member of Congress to endorse Sanders, announced he was ready to support Clinton. The congressman made clear that he wants Clinton to embrace the ideals Sanders has fought for, but the declaration was an unmistakable sign that the end is near.This is the parochial coverage of identity horse-race politics in a nutshell. If "progressive" for-profit veal pen organizations like MoveOn are ready to give up, then it naturally follows that millions of Sanders voters, lacking independent minds of their own, are also ready to cave. If one lone congressman switches sides in favor of Hillary, then all the weak and wobbly dominoes will soon come tumbling after. And my goodness, if even "rising progressive star" Elizabeth Warren (aged 66) is endorsing Hillary, why isn't everybody enthusiastically following suit? Since the "end is near," we must all stop greedily sucking up the oxygen and just die graciously already. Why prolong the agony? We proles are not deserving of care, especially that offensive end-of-life care which is anathema to all good neoliberals, for whom "efficiency" and "best practices" replace the common welfare.
One final thought. We've actually come a long way from last year's "narrative," which was all about political dynasties and a boring contest between a Bush and a Clinton. This election season is anything but boring.There's no guarantee that the campaigns of either leading contender will even survive until election day For the first time in modern history, both candidates are under active law enforcement investigation. And for the first time in a long time, socialism has gone mainstream. The neoliberal project has been well and truly exposed.
And still the pundits wonder why Bernie isn't bowing out gracefully. Keep your fingers crossed, and the popcorn ready. We may end up dead, but it promises to be a thrilling roller coaster ride to the finish nonetheless.
The revolution is on.