Sanders is out; progressives now must decide who we are

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is suspending his campaign for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2020 presidential election. The second-time candidate made the announcement Wednesday morning. Afterward, he spoke with supporters.

The move leaves former Vice President Joe Biden (D-Del.) as the Democrats’ presumptive nominee. And it leaves progressives already uncomfortable within — or long escaped from — mainstream Democratic circles with decisions to make.

  • The non-progressive answer would be to go with the centrist, as even Sanders, sadly, has said he will do. This is the answer if you believe Trump and Republicans are the problem with this country.
  • There is the Green Party of the United States, an obvious choice as this party comes closer to representing our values than the Democrats even pretend to do.This is a way to go if one believes an irreparably broken government, society, and system that ignore those at the bottom requires radical change. This is a plan if one knows racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and other ills are baked into the poisonous pie that is the U.S. — that has always been the U.S., that was the U.S. before it existed as a nation. This is the option if one understands that the problem in this construct is not the Republicans and racists, they are noisy and deadly symptoms. No, the problem is any person who values capitalism and profit over human lives. These people can run the ideological spectrum, but most by definition are centrists. These people, even those who understand on some level, for example, that rising income inequality, the criminal justice system, kids in cages, and unending war are immoral and inhumane, are too wedded to their personal comforts and unwarranted privilege to permit anything more than small steps of incremental change to occur. Disruption (of them) is not an option; no rocking boats.

    Hearkening to antebellum days, these centrists expect and insist (by whatever means they deem necessary) that those relative few who benefit (as well as the ignored who see what they’re missing) will be grateful to them, will soothe their egos and reassure their consciences at all times — and will cede their votes to The Party That Saved Their Kind come Election Day. For generations, that’s how it’s played out: The Democrats give marching orders. The centrists, the adjacent and aspiring but flexible, the fauxgressives, the ones who cave to keep their friends, and the deferring underclass, let’s call them, fall in line. That gave us Reagan, all those Bushes, Third Way (the phenomenon that exposed mainstream Democrats as the center-right dangers they really are), and The Criminal King. That gave us an alleged rapist with suspected cognitive decline, a backstory of plagiarism, and a record that would make Strom Thurmond and Robert Byrd proud. And John Lewis too, I guess. Old habits…

  • There is writing in Bernie Sanders at the ballot.
  • There is not voting at all. (Read “writing in Bernie Sanders.”)


So, if you call yourself progressive, who are you? Who are you, really?

Once you’ve answered that question and made peace with the truth, be honest with the world. As Audre Lorde said, your silence will not protect you. Your voice could be the catalyst that moves this recalcitrant construct solidly toward decency.

This progressive, who fled the centrist party decades ago, will not vote for Joe Biden. There was never any danger of me voting for any centrist of any kind. I was #BernieOrGreen; now I am all in for GreenParty2020. Biden is no solution. He’s a short-term bandage for a 400-year-old gaping wound that won’t heal. Long term, Biden is a plague for We The People. As is Trump. And Wall Street. And mainstream consumer culture. And the Supreme Court, the White House, the legislative branch, the voting system, the schools, the infrastructure… And capitalism.

It’s the system, stupid.



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