Usa: the wasted last chance

Usa: the wasted last chance

Bernie Sanders appearance at the Democratic National Convention; Photo: JefParker, Wikimedia

Hillary Clinton’s nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate is a political disaster

Bernie Sanders outed himself as a political masochist at the U.S. Democratic nominating convention. There seemed to be no end to the hackles of the neoliberal Democratic establishment, which inflicted back-to-back political defeats on the hated left-wing hopeful.

The Democratic election platform could be largely dictated by the right-wing faction around Hillary Clinton, while only a few cosmetic concessions were made to the left-wing wing. The Democrats’ election platform was "a victory for Clinton, not Sanders", hated the Washington Post, one of Clinton’s most reliable propaganda organs.

Open affront to the party’s left-wing base

The nomination of conservative Southern Democrat Tim Kaine for vice president was seen as an open affront by the progressive base of the Democrats – whose candidate only narrowly lost to Clinton through massive manipulation of the primaries – as a gigantic "Fuck you" of the establishment against the left party base, as the news portal Commondreams put it.

Shortly before the party convention in Philadelphia, emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) published by Wikileaks proved what had already been obvious for months: the top party body, which is officially committed to neutrality in primaries, was in effect acting as an organ of Clinton’s election campaign by doing everything in its power to delegitimize the candidacy of Bernie Sanders.

After these revelations, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz actually had to take her hat off – only to be immediately reappointed by the Clinton campaign as a "Hon" to be employed.

The support of Sanders

And yet Bernie Sanders maintained his support for Hillary Clinton, even though his numerous supporters at the convention were ready to dare an open revolt – and a possible rupture. After Clinton’s official nomination, a large part of the Sanders delegates even left the party convention in protest.

When Sanders called for the election of Hillary Clinton in a speech lasting about half an hour, he was booed massively – by his supporters. (It is actually superfluous to mention that this rebellion was also ignored in the German media mainstream, instead the accent was on jubilation and unity.)

In light of this action by the once hopeful of the American left, an old slogan seems red-hot again: "Who betrayed us? Social Democrats!" Did Sanders simply sell out the forming American left on any deals with the DNC?? But there is no clear evidence for this. This seems unlikely, given the massive political defeats of the party’s left and the continued provocations of the establishment against Sanders.

There are no real concessions here from the party right, which would allow Sanders to unite the left behind Clinton in the campaign against Trump. On the contrary, the establishment’s war against the left continues even at the party’s convention. The prominent left-wing U.S. Democrat Nina Turner, who had been considered as a successor to Sanders, had to leave the party conference without being able to give the scheduled party conference speech.

Here is a concrete clue to the strategy that led Sanders to stay on board with the Democrats after all. The democratic socialist is not concerned with his person, with his presidency, but with a long-term social democratic transformation of the neoliberally deformed U.S. Democrats.

In the next few years, left-wing forces are expected to win against neoliberal incumbents to slowly change the party’s direction and return it to the social-democratic track that the Democrats fell in love with under the neoliberal Bill Clinton. That is why the party establishment did not want to offer these left-wing rebels – such as Nina Turner – a forum at the party convention.

Bernie Sanders is thus in all likelihood not a "traitor", but a kind of political dinosaur: an honest, left-wing social democrat who actually strives to come close to realizing classic social democratic policies through long-term, reformist policies.

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