In the past couple of weeks I have seen a rising tide of the claim that “Bernie would have won”.
First of all, this is a completely useless argument. It has nothing positive to offer. The past is the past.
Beyond that, one should consider a number of factors. It is clear that many people are not going to want to think about these things but they need to think about it, any way. None of this is intended to attack Bernie supporters, it is meant as a narrative to close that door and move forward.
It is abundantly clear that Bernie is enslaved to the DNC. At no point has he stood up against the DNC, Obama, Hillary, Pelosi, Schumer or Biden. It has not mattered what actions they took to suppress or directly attack him, Tulsi Gabbard or any other person remotely Progressive. Yet you MUST consider that when the DNC elite suppress Progressives, it is the will of the American people who believe in Progressive values and policies who are, in fact, being suppressed and attacked.
Yes, he would have won. IF he had stood up and fought. He did not fight. He steadfastly refused to be aggressive or even objectively critical of Biden in the 2020 primary, just as he has never called out the DNC fraud or media attacks and censorship of 2016. He had 4 years to do so and never fought.
When the DNC at any level says, “bow down”, Bernie bows down. I fanatically supported Bernie in the 2016 primary. If you go back and watch the debates from before the 2016 convention, he focused on issues and policies. He did not allow the discussion to be diverted to nonsensical theatrics. In addition, he barely mentioned Trump at all. Then, the moment the convention was over, everything about him changed. Since the 2016 convention, his rhetoric has been focused on Trump. He supported first Clinton and then Biden. In each case, he surrendered with absolutely no substantive concessions from the nominees crowned by the DNC. The furthest he has gone was gaining a theatrical joint commission between the Biden and Sanders campaigns. Problem was, there was no requirement for Biden to act on the determinations of that commission. When Biden spoke the words, “I am the DNC”, Sanders was silent. Not one word of dissent. When Biden said that the party platform was what Biden himself had approved, Sanders remained silent. When Biden said, “I beat the Socialist” and made it clear he would not support the Green New deal (a title stolen letter for letter from the Green Party), Sanders never spoke a word of objection and has not even now.
He acts as a ventriloquist’s puppet for the DNC. When the DNC says, “Trump”, Sanders says, “Trump”. When the DNC says, “Russia”, Sanders says Russia. The list goes on and on. If the DNC says Clinton, Biden, Venezuela, China, those are the words you will hear from Sanders. Take your pick and you will never find a single word of derision coming from him. He merely repeats what has been dictated to him without question, without exception.
The problem is not Sanders. The problem is his fanatical followers. (I make a clear distinction between energetic and fanatical here.) When Sanders bows down, they bow down. When the DNC says “Clinton” or “Biden” or “Russia”, Sanders repeats that chant and his fanatical followers then chant the same words in return like a religious ceremony. The DNC controls him, he controls his followers. This is the definition of a sheep dog and a cult mentality. His followers may find those terms offensive but think how offensive their behavior is to we who truly support revolutionary Progressive change! Yet this is something completely within their control.
This is not a Revolution. Take a look back through history at actual revolutions. Revolutions may have leaders but the actual revolution itself is based on ideals which are not negotiable. The French Revolution was not some short, decisive event. It lasted for many years and cost many lives. The Mexican Revolution lasted years and cost many lives. Most people associate the Mexican Revolution with Pancho Villa but he was only one of many revolutionary leaders of Mexico at the time. He was betrayed multiple times, hunted by two governments, sentenced to death but instead jailed from which he escaped. Eventually he was pardoned yet later assassinated years after the revolution was over. Americans think of the Russian Revolution as being completely led by Lenin, yet it involved numerous factions with differing agendas striving against one another. The same is true with Castro and Cuba. Yes, you can always criticize revolutionary leaders for their tactics or post-revolutionary behavior. However, none of that happens in a vacuum or without internal and external influence. The point being that revolutions are not simple. All revolutions have many factions, many agendas.
You cannot kill an idea. Revolutions are not events composed by and led by singular characters. Revolutions are a collection of ideas supported by a majority of citizens who are oppressed and rising up against that oppression. If a revolution depended on one individual, they would be easy to prevent or destroy. This is not the case. Leaders do not create revolutions, revolutions choose leaders who are unlikely to surrender but will lead to the agenda, the ideas, the goals of the revolution. You can kill a person. You cannot kill an idea. If one leader of a revolution falls in some way or betrays the revolution, they are easily replaced by a new leader. If a leader surrenders to the oppressors, a revolution may be delayed but is never defeated. Revolutions form over years and involve highly identifiable incidents of unrest before they coalesce into an actual revolution.
This is where we are now. The ideas which Sanders has propagated began long before 2015 and have been growing for decades before he was viewed as coming to the fore, long before many had even heard his name. We Progressives have been discussing universal healthcare for many years, at the very least since the early 90’s but the discussion has been around since the 1920’s in this country. We have discussed stagnant wages since the early 2000’s when compared to inflation. Student loans have been a problem for many years. Remember Occupy Wall Street? That was in 2011–2012. Many of us voiced dissent against NAFTA, the disastrous welfare reform of the 90’s and the 1994 crime bill. Millions of us protested in one way or another against the invasion of Iraq and the bombing of Libya. I personally protested against the invasion of Afghanistan. Yet so many hold up Sanders as a revolutionary leader. Their leader has surrendered to the very same political forces the revolution seeks to depose and defeat. In past revolutions, traitors to a revolution would have suffered far worse fates than he has virtually any chance of enduring. People have to accept the fact that if he had been elected, he would have remained a servant to the DNC elite. He would have enslaved all his own followers to the same oppressors that have enslaved him.
We don’t need a leader. Yes, it is fine to support, endorse and applaud policies that Sanders or anyone else proposes in Congress, if the policies are truly Progressive. Just stop throwing around the “would have” argument. It no longer holds any bearing or relevance. He is not, has not been and will never be a revolutionary leader. Yet we don’t need a leader. We need organizers. A wide array of organizers fighting for similar agendas. Different groups can merge on specific issues and diverge on others. The more widely we disperse our convergent efforts, the more targets and tactics the oligarchy will be forced to contend with, the higher our chances of forcing each individual issue into the mainstream popular narrative and convincing ever more people to our cause by open discussion and debate. It is far more difficult to discredit, slander and demonize numerous organized movements involving a huge percentage of the population than one single movement, one single “leader”.
Revolutionary change starts at the bottom. If we want revolutionary change, it does not begin at the top. It begins at the bottom. From ending slavery to racial rights to suffrage to laws against family violence to anything else you can name which benefits the people, change has always been difficult to attain and has started from a small minority of voices which grew in number and power. It is obvious we do not have much time in which to implement many of the most critical changes we need. However, those issues are already well established in the mainstream consciousness.
Look forward, not back. The fact that change comes from the bottom is precisely why WE have to focus on the present and the future. We have to focus on solutions, not wailing emotionally over past events. We have to coordinate our efforts at numerous levels from the local to the state to the national to the global if we want real, effective, realistic, lasting change. Looking backward at what “could have been” will never accomplish this. It is wasted time and energy which we can no longer afford.
I think we have seen quite enough waste. Don’t you?