So, Bernie Sanders has launched his post-candidacy organization. “Our Revolution” is having a troubled birth, what with half the staff quitting over the weekend after Sanders parachuted his campaign manager Jeff Weaver into the top spot. Apparently some people don’t like Weaver and, more importantly, question his older-school approach to organizing (and the group’s dark-money approach to fundraising).
This storm will quickly pass. But if the history of progressive politics is anything to judge by, it’s an example of the kind ot stuff Bernie will have to deal with, and it won’t be easy.
Because nobody’s more capable of generating destructive internal strife than the American left. Sooner or later, the Purity Wars break out. Everyone’s got a pet cause or bug in the bonnet. Axes abound, and they all seem to require grinding.
In recent weeks, I’ve tried my damnedest not to comment on the Democratic presidential race. After shooting my keyboard off a few times earlier on, I began to realize that I was overreacting to the latest development instead of focusing on the bigger picture.
Political coverage encourages this kind of short-term thinking. The media have an interest in hyping up the news, to keep you tuned in or reading or clicking or However You Are Accessing Our Content. But in the long run, most of this stuff washes out.
If you needed any proof, just look at a roughly 48-hour period in the middle of this week. On Tuesday, there was a good chance of continuing deep division sparking a battle-marred convention that could have paved the way for a Trump presidency.
Bernie Sanders won’t be the Democratic nominee for president. And it’s not because of superdelegate shenanigans or imaginary Clinton conspiracies* or the media’s reluctance to validate his candidacy. It’s not even because I endorsed Hillary and voted for her in the primary.
*Honestly, I don’t get the Clinton hate. To hear some of my leftish acquaintances tell it, the Clintons are somewhere between Richard Nixon and Attila the Hun on the universal scale of evil.
But give the guy credit. He did better than expected on Super Tuesday. Not well enough to give him a shot at the nomination, but more than well enough to keep his candidacy going all the way to the Democratic convention.
Which is an absolutely worthwhile goal: get all the publicity you can for progressive ideas, and compel the Democratic Party to honor the left wing for the first time since, oh, 1972. Bernie has proven that the left wing is as strong a potential source of energy (and even money) that the party can’t afford to ignore. That is his enduring gift to our political discourse.