The cause of leftist unity suffered a disappointment on Tuesday, when Senator Bernard Sanders(I-VT) announced that contrary to earlier statements, he will not be running as a Democrat in future elections.
In November 2015, Sanders made a point of making clear that in fact he would run as a Democrat in future elections, after the subject came up during an interview.
“In future elections, potential future elections, will you also run as a Democrat?” the reporter asked Sanders as he campaigned in New Hampshire.
“Yes,” Sanders replied.
It seemed to make sense at the time. Bernie has had an on-again, off-again relationship with the DNC for decades. But he does vote with us more often than not. The DNC has hoped that he would join us for many years.
Bernie Sanders was elected to the House of Representatives in 1990. He was not long in establishing the contrary M.O. that so alienated allies and colleagues, during his first year in Congress and all the ones that followed. The first indicators of what we were in for were not to be long in coming.
Sanders introduced the “Health Care as a Right for All” bill on March 4, 1993, in the middle of Clinton’s push for health care reform, because after painstaking research she decided that his single-payer option was not feasible. It was an unfortunate diversion, at a time when we needed total focus. This plan of Bernie’s has failed many times.
As a result, when the Clinton administration-backed Health Security Act, was introduced in the House on Nov. 20, 1993, it had 103 cosponsors. Sanders was not among them. At a time when every vote was needed, he abstained for all-or nothing reasons. And so, America was to need nearly another quarter of a century to start filling this basic human need of the people.
In 2016, it was more of the same. We held out a hand to Bernie Sanders and his followers time and again, only to be rebuffed. It was tiring and it was frustrating. 1 in 10 Sanders voters ended up voting for Trump anyway. It was hard to resent the time we’d wasted trying to convince people who did not want to be convinced. This is the truth. Rebuilding trust has to start with an acceptance of truth.
The anger and despair caused by the 2016 election opened a door. The smear job on Hillary Clinton represented a quarter- century’s work and God only knows how many millions of dollars on the part of the GOP. They had long ago ensured there was no end of mud to sling. And trusty Wikileaks was always around to make sure there was no shortage of new ammunition, straight from the Russians like Kalashnikov rifles.
The last month of the Democratic primary was a very horrible time filled with chaos and division. That acrimony caused a schism in the Democratic Party that ended up not being fixable. It cost us the election.
That schism has been terribly visible over the last few days, when many Bernie supporters regarded an invitation to Bernie to join the Democratic Party as an attempt to force him out of the Democratic Party. It is not clear how to correct these sorts of misconceptions.
This rabidity and overzealousness on the part of a dangerously high percentage of far-left supporters of Bernie Sanders made for an extremely nasty cocktail of filth for Putin and the Russians to fling about on social media, amplifying their messages through a mixture of robot armies and highly targeted advertising. The campaign was more successful than even the Russians expected. It directly paved the way for Trump’s “Crooked Hillary” attacks.
Since then, the gap between the Democratic Party and the rogue Sanders element has widened continuously. The 2017 Democratic National Committee chairmanship election between Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota was the first contested DNC chair election since 1985. It gave us a solid look at the discord brewing in the party.
The Unity tour that Bernie and the DNC undertook together was a disaster as well. Many Sanders supporters even went so far as to boo and curse our party chairman, Tom Perez, while on the tour. One reporter asked at the time, if Bernie considered himself a Democrat.
“No”, said Bernie.
And as recently as this month, Bernie caused nationwide outrage by accepting an invitation to speak at the 2017 Inaugural Women’s Convention. We did not ask for much, to remedy the situation, only that he publicly state that he’ll endorse in the future only those candidates with an ironclad respect for the reproductive rights of women.
Sadly, rather than fully embrace this long-hallowed progressive moral, Bernie chose to decline the invitation.
The pattern is clear, and it is widening all the time. The natural response on the part of most Democrats, who after all have been lied to for years by Senator Sanders, is outrage. This is only to be expected, but we have to keep in mind that more fighting will get us the opposite of what we all are after.
The author of this article struggles with this personally and is honest enough to admit it. Just the same, Millennial Democrats realizes the necessity of coming together. The only thing that matters, for as long as he’s in office, is getting rid of the maniac Donald Trump. We will therefore make a sincere attempt to put that behind us and offer a handshake. That is what the situation requires. That is what the lot of us owe our country.
The Sanders camp started a number of rather insolent and aggressive political organizations in the aftermath of the country’s heartbreak over the disastrous result of last year’s election. This is inexcusable, but also understandable. Everyone was really angry at the time, and pointing fingers is always easy. Everyone makes mistakes.
But even among these heavily radicalized organizations, there is one that stands out particularly for the sheer ugly brazenness of its slogan, a hashtag called #WeWillReplaceYou. This is another supposedly liberal or progressive group looking to take out sitting Democrats from Congress in 2018.
Instead of focusing their attention on the Republicans who are ravaging our federal government, they are instead choosing to pose a threat to elected Democrats.
This kind of idea goes beyond obnoxious. It’s actively dangerous. The last hope of the nation is that most people, on both sides of the fence, will somehow come to realize this. Acrimony on the left is exactly what Donald Trump and the Koch network are really after. We have got to perceive their strike, and pull back before it is too late.
Both sides have now had ample chance to air grievances and get them out on the table. It is now time for us to move past it. Honesty is the only way to meaningful unity between the Sanders camp and real Democrats. We hear you out, you hear us out, and then we all shake hands and get back to work.
It is for that reason that we’ve decided to promote a counter-hashtag, #WeWillEmbraceYou. We don’t want to fight. One way or the other, this internecine war has got to end. It does nothing but rip us all up. The discord between our two camps still amounts to a quarrel between brothers.
So when they shriek at us, “We will replace you!”, we will respond calmly and say “Well, we will embrace you.” This is easy for us, because we are Democrats. The Democratic Party is strong. And the strong are always kind. It will come naturally to be magnanimous.
What it means to be a Democrat, is to be on the side of the people. All the people. Even the ones you don’t always agree with. In order to call yourself a progressive, you have got to show you can make progress. That takes cooperation and communication. All or nothing will not suffice.
At the end of the day, our message to our natural allies to the left of us is simply this- Even if you insist on wanting to be our enemies, we are still your friends.
We will not give up, on attempting to open dialogue with you. We will always be willing to work with you. Should you ever decide to return to the fold, you will hear no I-told-you-sos or recriminations. What you will find, is a dignified welcome, and a place on the bench. Please keep this in mind.