Perhaps that is the simple answer I am looking for: the choice made by my heart. My heart is so often right.
With all the flurry and convolutions in politics today, I often find myself buried under all kinds of details and arguments, and writing possibly overlong articles about topics which should, and perhaps could, be much simpler.
An example of that is the splintering of last year’s Bernie supporters into groups such as those that went Green, others that want to try and reform the “Democratic” Party (for example the Justice Democrats), and those who want to start a new party, like the very intriguing-looking effort which calls itself “Draft Bernie for a People’s Party” (draftbernie.org).
My head being filled with gazillions of details and arguments, and easily becoming hypnotized by things like current memberships or donation levels, or alternative media support for some of these approaches, it’s easy to feel uncertain. But, when I stop deliberating and ask myself where my heart is leading, I find it quietly rooting for Draft Bernie. And perhaps that is the simple answer I am looking for: the choice made by my heart. My heart is so often right.
This reflection further allows me to remember how, before all the bustle of last year’s primaries, I had already decided years ago to never again go for the ruling party duopoly. I had started voting Green, and also for other small parties and independent candidates, before Bernie Sanders ever showed up on my radar screen. The reason was quite simple: both mainstream parties are hopelessly corrupt. Voting for corruption makes no sense. My strategy was also simple: build momentum until one of the duopoly parties will be replaced by a new one. A sound strategy for me and every other American who realizes that voting for those who harm us makes no sense whatsoever.
When, recently, the Justice Democrats formed, their to me most convincing argument was that there are just too many barriers in place which keep third parties from ballot access, debate access, media coverage, or momentum building in the face of our winner-take-all-electoral system. That’s why new parties have almost never replaced the dominant ones in our country and independent candidates rarely won elections.
But, then, Nick Brana, the brain behind Draft Bernie not only pointed at the case of Abraham Lincoln succeeding to form a new party by leaving the Whig Party and taking millions of disenchanted Whig partiers with him, but also made an argument that sounded even stronger to me than the one about barriers stopping third parties.
Nick’s argument is somewhat reminiscent of something Debbie Lusignan (a.k.a. The Sane Progressive, who tends to make very sharp observations), once said: namely that the “Democratic” Party is designed to prevent take-over from within and has a history of successfully co-opting any such attempts and firmly suppressing the progressive elements within it. The point? Barriers within the DP (and for sure the GOP as well) are actually higher than the barriers against new parties, even more so when new parties arise from a sundering of an old party, bringing with them a lot of energy and millions of already connected members.
I don’t know the details of all the mechanisms the “Democrats” have for internal suppression. Nick Brana seemed to hint in an interview that he knows quite a bunch of them, but didn’t go into much detail.
Still, having myself witnessed the corporate shills, who form the DNC, exerting their tight top-down control over everything that happens inside the “Democratic” Party, such as primary election outcomes, the party’s political platform, and the DNC chair selection, the argument about insurmountable internal barriers rings very true in my ears. In complete contrast, the current plan for the People’s Party, which Nick Brana hopes to build, is to actually let the party base vote on the party’s political platform and its officers (making it possible to recall them whenever they turn to corruption). And that strikes me as a necessity for a truly people-representing party as opposed to an establishment-representing party. It also seems to me like a thing to stress when promoting such a new party to awakened voters: here is a new party with built-in mechanisms to keep it honest and working for you. The exact opposite of the crony-capitalist GOP and DP. A brilliant concept all around!
Call to mind that the top-down structure of the Corporate Party (the ‘GOP & “Democratic” Parties’ as we know it) is the great Achilles heel which made it so easy for the bribes-wielding plutocrats to take over our political system. They merely had to buy off the top brass. Therefore, bottom-up voting is exactly what we need in a new party to restore democracy. Our sights should be firmly on that goal.
So, I think these are the points of interest on which my heart has fixed and why it keeps whispering into my reason’s ear: Draft Bernie, Draft Bernie, Draft Bernie…
Of course, there is the worry that Bernie might never chose to join, or that he might wait too long. Brana has an intriguing response to that, too: after some time the effort might not need Bernie. Others who rose with Bernie might be able to take his place, or even others we haven’t seen, yet. In the meantime, the mere hope or wishful dream that Bernie might eventually lead the blue exodus into a true people’s party – like the biblical Moses led the Israelites into the Promised Land – may be enough to keep the fire burning, energize people, and help realize my original hope from years ago of a third party, carried by lots of disenchanted independents like myself, rising to power and giving us – the people – political representation again in our broken United States of Adversity.
And so, even as I am rooting for all the current efforts to revive our clinically dead democracy, my heart quietly keeps whispering: Draft Bernie, Draft Bernie, Draft Bernie…
Note: This post also appeared today (in a slightly earlier version) on the blog Our Revolution Continues together with two preceding articles on the same topic. They might also interest you.
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