Ahh! Good morning October.
You smell that? That’s the smell of neoliberal night terrors wafting in the cool autumn breeze. More magical than the first cut lawn of springtime.
They’re terrified. They know a big leak is coming this month, but they don’t know when, and they don’t know what. Whatever it is, it’ll be big, and we Berniecrats need to jump on the opportunity when it presents itself.
The so-called “October surprise” is a longstanding tradition in American politics wherein inconvenient truths are conveniently revealed by the press about a presidential candidate weeks before the election, ideally hurting the candidate’s popularity too late in the game for their campaign to recover. The term is most often used as a pejorative by the supporters of the candidate to whom the revelations pertain, as an attempt to draw attention away from the revelations themselves and paint them as dirty tactics used by the candidate’s opposition. So get used to hearing it because the Hillary spin campaign is going to be using it a lot this month.
Our first appetizer on the menu came a few days ago in the form of an audio leak wherein the Democratic nominee is heard deriding Bernie supporters as “children of the Great Recession” who “live in their parents’ basement,” mocking their calls for tuition-free college and universal healthcare and describing her own political position as “center left to center right” on the political spectrum. Remember, this is the woman who last July said “I take a backseat to no one when you look at my record in standing up and fighting for progressive values.” The Intercept has published two handy audio excerpts of these quotes if you haven’t listened to them yet.
By the way, do you know who else described himself as politically center-right? George W. Bush. Remember him? He’s the guy who brought us the Iraq invasion, the Patriot Act, and the bank bailouts. You know, all those awful things we hate him for, each of which New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton actively supported. So I don’t want to hear one word from you Clinton supporters trying to point at Dubya’s presidency as a reason to fear Trump anymore, kay? Your candidate hates us and everything we believe in. Leave us alone.
But if you put your ear to the ground, you can hear The Big One coming. We’re already being prepped by the shills. Every interaction I’ve had with The Correct the Record shills for the last few days have been almost comical about mentioning Russia at every opportunity. The strategy is that if they tightly marry “Russia” with the idea of “leak” at every opportunity, we will hear “leak” and think “Damn you Russia!” and not “Holy cow, did she really do that?”
They have been working really hard at this, across on the internet and mainstream media. Like Pavolov’s dogs, they are conditioning us to bleat the word “Russia” on command of the word “leak.” The ensuing noise will drown out any questions raised about the ramifications of the content of the leak. The neoliberal propaganda machine is already churning out shill pieces like this one by The Conversation to preempt the next leak by getting everyone pointing fingers at Putin before it drops. Because apparently it’s 1950 again and that’s what we do now. I guess they figured if they’re trying to appeal to hipsters, they might as well make it vintage.
Can I just interrupt myself once more to say how chilling it is that a known war hawk and her cronies keep picking fights with an overly-macho nuclear superpower before she’s even president? How is this not freaking everyone out? Can we all start talking about this more, please? Or, you know, screaming about it?
Okay. Deep breath. Moving on.
So they’ve been preparing; we need to be prepared too. When that foot falls, we need to push hard. The legitimacy of Hillary’s nomination is questionable anyway, her numbers keep tanking, the third-party vote is so strong CNN is only polling old white southerners now (for real, check it out) in order to make her and Trump’s numbers look something approaching reasonable, so that door is halfway open anyway.
Let me first remind you that the folks who loudly tell progressives that a third-party vote isn’t an option are the same people who’ve been excusing the DNC leaks by saying, “It’s their party and they can run it how they like, what’d Bernie expect coming in as an outsider?” But these arguments are mutually contradictory, and they can’t have it both ways. Either this is exclusively a two-party system, in which case a manipulation of one of those parties can only be an unforgivably treasonous assault on American democracy, or we can vote for whichever party suits our interest. Either way, we’ve got them in a bind.
Because here’s the thing: Hillary supporters will compromise. We won’t. That’s a glaringly obvious difference between our two groupings, and nobody who isn’t on the Correct the Record payroll will even try to deny it. If Hillary supporters are forced to choose between President Bernie and President Donald, they’ll go with the party unity they’ve been advocating so aggressively this whole time and vote blue. We Bernie-or-Busters won’t; that’s what “or bust” means. And there are a lot of us. If the elites of the Democratic party want a win, they’ll have to find a way to take their gal out of the running and put in our guy, especially after The Big One drops. If they want the party to survive, and if we make our demands known loud and clear, they’ll fall in line.
The Democrats need Progressives like Republicans need Christians; they can’t win elections without us, and they know it. If they try to move right to make up for the votes they lose on the left, they’ll just replace the crumbling GOP and become the new American conservative party, leaving a gaping hole to be filled on the left by either the Greens or a new liberal party.
And yes, Bernie is supporting Hillary right now. But this isn’t up to him. It’s up to us. It’s really great that he did everything he could to preserve party unity rather than alienating centrist Democrats because we’re going to need that party unity to elect President Bernard Sanders. We’ve picked our president, and we will push him through as soon as the opportunity presents itself. And it will soon.
Believe me, there’s many stalwart Democrats stuck in those offices right now that would be more than relieved to put in Bernie and move on. This is all way too much trouble than it’s worth already. They put Bernie in, they win the election, and all of this goes away. We might even forget about politics for the next four years and let them get on with it.
Not likely. But they can always hope.
[Featured Image by Andrew Cline/Shutterstock.com]