As the Sanders tsunami rolls across the country, the demographics most stubbornly resisting it aren’t African Americans, or Women. There are two.
The first demographic I call the cynics. These are the people, some of whom are our good friends, who agree with everything Bernie says but simply don’t believe that the country is ready for someone as left as him and think Hillary has a better chance of working with Congress. To them I say, look, it’s about LEADERSHIP, it’s about character, it’s about integrity, it’s about ORGANIZING, and damn have you seen his campaign so far? He identifies the key issue as taking big money out of politics, and then he just does it! This is a phenomenal political achievement in and of itself, almost as significant as Obamacare and legalizing gay marriage.
The other demographic consists of those who fear a Republican victory. We need to be sensitive to the fact that African Americans are once again the people who will suffer the most from Trump and his gaggle of racists should they manage to attack their way to the White House. Again, this demographic agrees with Sanders on policy, but simply thinks that the ruling class will allow a moderate like Hillary to win but not a radical like Sanders, to wit: Gene McCarthy, George McGovern. Much of this stance is based on a not-terribly-irrational fear of redbaiting, of anticommunism. Anticommunism has certainly been an effective tool in the past.
But it’s important to consider that anticommunism and fear of anticommunism – as well as cynicism – have the same effect, maintaining the status quo, thwarting authentic progress. And it isn’t difficult to see that most of the regimes that called themselves communist have either collapsed or made sufficient accommodation with capitalism – and U. S imperialism – to render themselves no threat. It’s also true that the right itself has destroyed the effectiveness of redbaiting by calling Obama a socialist so stridently.
Every situation, every election is unique, and its very uniqueness is its most salient characteristic.
One narrative might be to define democratic socialism as a shift in consciousness for “I” to “We,” from “Me” to “Us.” This is the revolution I think most of us can agree on.