#Demexit is finally happening.
Livid at Hillary Clinton’s coronation as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, Bernie Sanders’ supporters — comprising mostly of progressives — are putting into action their plans to leave the party once and for all.
Over the course of the last two weeks, a large section of Democratic voters have been extremely vocal about the party’s seeming abandonment of progressive values, threatening to de-register from the party if Clinton — who is essentially viewed as dishonest, untrustworthy and warmongering by these voters — was anointed the eventual nominee. And now that Clinton’s nomination is officially wrapped up, establishment Democrats are waking up to the fact that these threats were not just part of some willy-nilly theatrics cooked up by Republicans, but very much a real ultimatum that had been issued by disaffected voters within their own ranks.
The reasons for #Demexit, which borrows its terminology from Brexit, are varied. While for most Bernie Sanders’ supporters, the 2016 primary season provided ample proof of the how the structures and mechanisms of the party cater only to establishment politicians like Hillary Clinton — making it difficult for an insurgent candidate like Bernie Sanders to have a fair say in the race — for longtime democrats, it is the party’s gradual shift to the right over the last three decades that has brought about the present situation.
At one point in time, the Democratic Party’s donations used to come from unions and the working people of America. Over the years, however, New Democrats, whose election campaigns have been funded by Wall Street, have started to hold a tight sway over the party’s ideological trajectory, as charted out in Common Dreams. As historian Lily Geismer writes, instead of deriving its power from the poor, minorities, and the marginalized, the Democratic Party now derives its wealth — and its power — from corporate America.
“As it stands, the Democratic Party is much more than a repository of liberal values. It’s a party that consistently favors its upper-middle-class base in both presidential campaign platforms and its governing agenda.”
There is little wonder, then, that an enormously disliked candidate like Hillary Clinton, despite allegations of corruption and fraud stacked against her, has still managed to clinch the nomination. Because she is not only the darling of the establishment, she is also the darling of Wall Street.
Bernie Sanders made that distinction adequately clear during the primary season. By running a grassroots campaign on the backs of seven million individual donations, the Vermont senator gave progressives hope that the American people could once again steer the direction in which Washington is headed. He showed that if ordinary Americans were willing to organize themselves and take on the might of corporate money in politics, they could do it.
Not surprisingly, his progressive agenda drew millennials in packs, who, although not so acutely aware of the manner in which the Democratic Party has conceded to corporate America over the last three decades, are craving a political system which takes their interests — such as college debt and universal healthcare — into serious consideration.
But as the recent DNC Wikileaks hack proved, Bernie Sanders was not only running against Wall Street, he was running against a corrupt DNC which was not ready to concede to someone who would undo what the New Democrats had so painstakingly achieved.
For these longtime Democrats, millennials, and other progressives, the conspiracy against Bernie Sanders — and Hillary Clinton’s eventual nomination — only shows that the party is unwilling to live up to its ideals, leaving #Demexit as their only available recourse.
Only time will tell where these progressive voters are headed, but the way this election season has panned out so far, it would not be altogether surprising if third-party candidates like Jill Stein or Gary Johnson manage to make significant breakthroughs in the general election with their help. Winning still remains a long shot for them, but the manner in which DNC has worked to anoint Hillary Clinton has given progressives enough evidence that the party does not need them anymore.
As it turns out, it seems the progressives don’t need the party either.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]