Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in Nevada by 649 votes. Hardly a landslide. More like a statistical quirk. Is this enough to allow us to descend into the slough of despond? I don’t think so. Our worst enemy isn’t Clinton or Trump. It’s our own discouragement.
Bernie Sanders entered the race less than a year ago saying that the key issue in U. S. politics was to get the big money out of elections. And then, guess what. He did it. He just did it. He developed a nationally competitive presidential campaign without taking one dime from the billionaires, funded solely on grass roots contributions averaging $27. This is a phenomenal political achievement, almost as significant as Obamacare or gay marriage.
As Chairman Mao never said, the revolution is not a horserace. The revolution is about organizing against establishment policies which are starving the working class, enrichening the rulers, fomenting racism, fostering permanent warfare, and destroying the planet. Did anyone tell you this would be easy? That the destruction of the planet would depend on 649 Nevada votes?
We need to think long term. Maybe we won’t win the presidency this time around. No question, this whole revolution business would be easier if we could win the presidency. But maybe we’re not strong enough yet. What we need to do is consolidate the gains we have made so we can get stronger. A good model was promised by both Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama but, for various reasons, not delivered: an on-going organization growing out of the campaign to influence policy and affect state and local elections all the while gearing up for the next presidential election. The one candidate who did deliver on the promise of keeping their progressive constituents together was Howard Dean, who may have betrayed us with Hillary but let his brother lead his organization, Democracy for America, into the heart of the Sanders campaign. We might want to look at things like a merger of DFA and Move On, for one thing. Democratic Socialists of America? It would be good to have less duplication of effort.
This isn’t so say we should give up on Bernie winning this time. He can certainly still win. It appears that he won the Hispanic vote in Nevada – 53% – which puts him in a good place to do well in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. If he can hold his own in South Carolina and beat the spread, he’s still good. He seems to have Massachusetts, Maine, Alaska, and of course Vermont. He’s close in Tennessee. And, he’s ahead in some national polls.
So take a minute to feel your discouragement, to experience how hard a revolution actually is to pull off. Then, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start up again from where you left off.
There! I feel better now.