The post-primary Democratic situation


Hillary Clinton finally clinched the Democratic party nomination with convincing wins in delegate-rich California and New Jersey, and narrow wins in New Mexico and South Dakota. Bernie Sanders won in Montana and North Dakota. Clinton now has the majority of elected delegates, total delegates, and votes and can rightfully claim the title of presumptive nominee.

The fact that one of the two major parties in the US has finally got around to nominating a woman as their presidential candidate is a good step forward, even if the US is way behind many other countries where women have become the leaders even without the boost they got from a spouse’s prior electoral success. It will be interesting to see if she does win the presidency, the Republicans and the dead-enders in the country will bitterly oppose her every move for Presidenting While Woman by inciting anti-woman sentiment, the way that they opposed Barack Obama’s every move (other than those favoring the oligarchy) for Presidenting While Black by inciting anti-black sentiment.

So what next for the Sanders candidacy? He has said that he will continue to fight to the convention but that is surely in order to influence the direction of the party. There is no question that his candidacy has pushed the debate within the party in a far more progressive direction than it was before. Already he has signaled that he will fight to include many of the issues that he fought for into the party platform. While presidents are not obliged to follow the platform and some see it as mere window dressing, they do signal the way that sentiments are shifting on major issues.

Clinton will undoubtedly protect the causes of women, abortion rights, and the LGBT community but the neoliberals and neoconservatives who are so strongly embedded in the Democratic party establishment and are her friends and supporters will try to continue their pro-war, anti-Palestinian foreign policy and their pro-Wall Street and pro-‘free trade’ economic agenda (which really means supporting the free flow of capital across the globe by the transnational oligarchy).

The Sanders campaign has managed to get both Clinton and Obama to embrace the idea of expanding Social Security benefits rather than cutting them. They have placed people on the party platform committee who argue for a more balanced approach to the Israel –Palestinian issue, one on which Clinton’s position has been deplorable and aligned with the most extreme hardline Israeli policies. Sanders has pushed the rights of Palestinians to the front burner.

“I think that Bernie’s statements in support of the humanity and freedoms of Palestinians are a huge part of why so many young Jews are flocking to him,” said Max Berger, a 30-year-old political organizer from Brooklyn. “It’s a huge sign of how politics are changing. People are excited about candidates who support equality and are willing to fight for it.”

For Berger and other young liberal Democrats, the presidential debate this week was the latest in a series of moments that have shown them Sanders shares their values on justice, whether it’s in discussions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, calling for an end to mass incarceration in the U.S. or talking aggressively about income inequality.

Raising the minimum wage to a living one is something that is now accepted, as is the idea that college tuition costs have to be curtailed. Clinton, notoriously friendly to the big banks, has been forced to concede that the big banks have to be regulated.

In her own Daily News editorial board interview, published on Monday, Clinton went as far as to agree with Sanders that Dodd-Frank gave the White House authority to break up banks “that pose a grave threat to financial stability”. She promised that as president she would appoint financial regulators who would be prepared to make hard calls to prevent a repeat of 2008, as well as to empower and resource prosecutors to press criminal charges if merited – a far cry from the 1990s.

Adam Green, cofounder of the million-member advocacy organization Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), said that ideas like breaking up too-big-to-fail banks were not long ago on the margins of Democratic politics. “Now the center of gravity of the Democratic party as it thinks about Wall Street has dramatically shifted and both the candidates are talking about jailing bankers who break the law and breaking up big institutions.”

It will be up to progressives to fight the reactionary forces within the Democratic party (and there are many of them especially in the upper echelons) on all these issues every step of the way. It has been the unfortunate history that people who would vociferously oppose wars and violations of humans and civil rights when committed by a Republican, stay quiet or even justify them when there is a Democratic president, as we can see from the muted reaction to Obama’s drone killings, support for the NSA’s spying, persecution of whistleblowers, and excusing of torturers.

And this is where it is imperative that the mass movement that Sanders has created, especially among the young, not be allowed to wither away, the way that Barack Obama quietly sidelined them once he became president so that he could better accommodate the wishes of the oligarchy. I think that it is unlikely that Sanders will quietly retire to being a senator again. He benefitted from the Occupy Wall Street movement and he has the responsibility to keep these fires going and prevent the Democrats from doing what they always try to do after an election, and that is go back to pleasing the big money interests.

Comments

  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    …, the Republicans and the dead-enders in the country will bitterly oppose her every move for Presidenting While Woman by inciting anti-woman sentiment…

    Considering how far the backlash against Obama has pushed the whole country toward racism and resentment, I anticipate some really nasty regression (led by False Noise and road rage radio).

    It’s not too early to say: Women’s Lives Matter!

  2. moarscienceplz says

    It will be interesting to see if she does win the presidency, the Republicans and the dead-enders in the country will bitterly oppose her every move for Presidenting While Woman by inciting anti-woman sentiment,

    If they do, they may be goring their own ox. NPR looked at today’s demographics compared with the 2012 election and found some interesting ideas:

    I would say, you know, she [Clinton] does not need to win white women as a whole. But if she can do marginally better [than Trump], I would say, she could clear a path to victory. And that’s really key in a state like Ohio, where some of the modeling that I was doing showed that just a 1 percent change in how white women vote could flip the state one direction over another.

  3. Jake Harban says

    I support the idea that Sanders should endorse Stein and back her for the Presidency.

    She’s got the progressive policies and she’s actually on the ballot; she just needs a campaign. Meanwhile, Sanders has no chance at getting on the ballot, so what else will he do with his campaign funds and mailing list and organized support base of people who don’t want another four years of oligarchy?

  4. says

    Clinton, notoriously friendly to the big banks, has been forced to concede that the big banks have to be regulated.

    Don’t be naive. Clinton has realized that if she makes certain mouth-noises, other humans who like those mouth-noises will dance up and down. This says nothing about what actions Clinton may or may not take, or what mouth-noises she may or may not take while she is acting. There is no reason to believe there is any relationship between the mouth-noises Clinton makes and the actions Clinton performs.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    Reminder: voting depends, in the US, on state of registration.

    I hope the Sandersistas put all their votes & organizing to Greens (where they deserve it) in the Texases & Massachusettses, and leave the Ohios & Floridas to the Democrats.

    Trying to “win” swing states with a protest party, under the present system, rewards your enemies. I don’t want the myths of 2000 to turn into the facts of 2016 (and neither, sfaict, does Jill Stein).

    Building a progressive alternative for 2020 & beyond will make the historical difference, but we’ll have a better chance at doing so under Clinton’s corrupt business-as-usual-with-a-little-glitter than while dodging Trump’s loose (but steadily firing) cannon of scapegoatery.

  6. Smokey says

    Clinton will undoubtedly protect the causes of women, abortion rights, and the LGBT community

    Why? I’d expect her to suffer from Stockholm syndrome just as much as women that supports misogynistic religions and practices such as genital mutilation. And the resistance against such progress would be fierce. Hell, there’s still resistance against mixed-race marriage.

  7. sonofrojblake says

    It will be interesting to see if she does win the presidency

    You can stop that sentence right there.

    Here’s a thing – whether she wins or not, she’ll have done a great thing – a woman candidate is a big deal. More importantly, when/if she loses, it won’t be because she is a woman. If Trump wins, it will be for a whole bunch of reasons unrelated to the gender of his opponent, including but not limited to her health, her email server woes, her relationship with the banks, her attacks on the women her husband abused, and many others. It’s a bittersweet thing, but it’s there.

  8. Sam N says

    Jake Harban, as the primaries have made clear, Jill Stein does not have a chance at winning. Hillary will easily grab more votes than her–seriously–look at California, New Jersey. What Bernie should do with that money and organization is create something akin to the Tea Party but for progressives. Advocate for progressives to participate more strongly in Democratic primaries so that we have more progressive candidates at every position and level of government. Your focus on only the presidency is not a sensible strategy to create change. It may be a long time before we have a true progressive in that office, but more of them elsewhere can make an even bigger difference.

    Also, like the Tea Party, put pressure on Hillary whenever she betrays a progressive cause. Remind her that people that voted for her are not happy when she supports (as she inevitably will) idiotic international intervention or bailouts for big business.

  9. silverfeather says

    “even if the US is way behind many other countries where women have become the leaders even without the boost they got from a spouse’s prior electoral success”

    Yeah, when you go back and look at the boost she got as first lady, with the press fawning all over her for things like wanting to keep her own last name and the Republican party TOTALLY not demonizing her for like – decades – as the worst monster in the world it does seem kind of unfair for Sanders to have to run against her with all those advantages amirite?
    And so nice that all those other first ladies got such a great boost from their spouses that they were able to run for president too! Oh wait… maybe that suggestion is crap and she actually worked for it.

  10. sailor1031 says

    one thing is certain, if Clinton wins the presidency she will continue and probably ratchet up the insane baiting of Russia. Under Obama the neocons have only been able to reinstitute cold war; with Clinton we’re likely to see that heat up. Already some are proposing that the US can win a nuclear war with the Russian Federation – that’s why they’re so keen to put ABMs on the Russian borders (like in Poland). With Trump it’s not so certain what he’d do. Already Nuland, the architect of the coup in Ukraine, is being touted as secretary of state in a Clinton administration. doG help us all, we have no good options.

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