The race for the Democratic candidate for this year’s presidential election in the USA has been both surprising and exciting at points. And although some say Bernie Sanders won’t become the party’s nominee (“no matter what happens in the primaries”), others insist that he will be “sworn in as America’s 45th president” in January 2017.
On 2 March, Sanders won the challenging ‘Super Tuesday’ of primaries according to some, taking Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and his home state of Vermont. In doing so, he passed the challenges set by pollster Nate Silver. In Colorado, Sanders won by around 20 points in spite of the fact that almost the entire leadership of the Democratic Party in the state had backed Hillary Clinton.
Policies and popularity
Bernie has both. And whatever differences those on the left may have with him, he has been the most outspoken candidate against Wall Street criminals. And there is no doubting his commitment to his own beliefs. Like other principled political figures around the world, he has been arrested in the past for taking a stand.
The result of this consistency has been an outpouring of genuine affection. Thousands of supporters have marched around the USA in support of Sanders, and big stars like Spike Lee and Saul Williams have given him their endorsements. And he dominates Clinton on Twitter. While she is already “tapping out her fundraising base”, with many of her supporters already reaching the maximum $2700 donation permitted, Bernie continues to break records. In February alone, he raised around $42 million from 1.4 million individual contributors. At the same time, the Clinton campaign continues to be weakened by both the ongoing FBI investigation (regarding her email scandal) and her lack of grassroots support.
The Republicans and the Democrats
The electoral duopoly of the establishment parties is fading away from the inside. Noam Chomsky has said that the Republicans “basically abandoned any pretense of being a normal political party” somewhere in the 1990s. Their only policies, he insists, have been “don’t do anything or bomb”, and that’s it.
The Democratic Party, meanwhile, has stepped into the space where the Republican Party used to be. Only now, Sanders is trying to take the Democrats back to where they once were. But this is not a task that Sanders can undertake alone. Hence why the “Not An Alternative” collective in New York has advocated the occupation of the Democratic Party, treating it “like any street or park”. The American left, it says:
has been alienated from the Democrats yet now their elite is terrified that the left will take it over. We should give them reason to be afraid. When we occupy the party, we continue the movement, pushing the power of the people.
And this kind of technique may be increasingly necessary considering that the current electoral system in the USA seems to be stacked against candidates like Sanders. On 10 February, for example, Clinton received more New Hampshire delegates than Sanders in spite of the latter’s “landslide victory”. With moves like this, asserts U.S. Uncut, the Democratic establishment has consciously screwed voters over.
But Sanders still expects to win the nomination “in a landslide“. And the simple fact is that Sanders is best placed to oppose the wannabe fascist expected to become the Republican nominee (Donald Trump). Even NBC has revealed that Sanders is outperforming Clinton in matchups against Trump, and Current Affairs Magazine says:
unless the Democrats run Sanders, a Trump nomination means a Trump presidency
Considering all the information at hand and the “lurking possibility of a Trump presidency”, Glenn Greenwald asks:
is now really the time to gamble on such a risky general election candidate as Hillary Clinton?
In other words, for citizens without a nihilistic streak, the best chances of stopping Trump would be to support Sanders (critically, of course).