Paul Street: The Bernie Fade Begins

The Bernie Fade Begins
Paul Street, CounterPunch, May 2, 2016

“The 2016 presidential election,” Diana Johnstone recently wrote, “is shaping up as a contest between the two most hated people in America.” Bernie Sanders has called it quits. That’s what it means when your campaign says, as Bernie’s did two nights ago, that it looks forward to going to the Democratic National Convention to fight over the party’s platform, not over its presidential nomination. There’ll be no contested convention on the Democratic side. So what if Hillary Clinton is a “right wing fanatic” (Arun Gupta), a close friend of Wall Street, a backer of so-called free trade deals, and a spine-chilling war monger?

Nobody should be surprised. As the left commentator John Stauber noted on CounterPunch last week, it’s a very old story. “It’s the Democrat’s political equivalent of the Bill Murray movie classic Groundhog Day,” Stauber writes, “except the progressive candidate never wins the girlfriend, that is, the nomination, in the end. Instead, the Bernie Sanders, the Howard Deans, the Pat Browns, and the Jesse Jacksons, the progressive champions of their election cycle, change themselves from guard dogs to lap dogs, ensuring that cynical and outraged progressives follow their champion-cum-Pied Piper to become advocates for defeating the Republicans in November…The Democratic apparatchiks who run Bernie’s campaign,” Stauber ads, “are preparing their masses for the inevitable…for death and resurrection as a saintly rationalizing army of Hillary Clinton supporters.”

Trump is a truly disruptive and rebellious force on the rightmost side of the party system. He’s tearing the Republican Party apart, most clearly at the presidential level. He’s off the elite capitalist neoliberal and imperial Council of Foreign Relations leash in ways that a lot of angry and alienated working class and lower middle class white voters like. That’s why a fair portion of the elite capitalist Republican establishment is trying to prevent him from getting the GOP nomination and won’t back him in the general election if he survives the Convention with the nomination. One of the Koch brothers has even recently suggested that he’ll go with Hillary Clinton over Trump, along with Henry Kissinger and leading foreign policy neocons like Robert Kagan. That is quite remarkable.

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