When you were younger, did you ever use to wonder why the world is so crazy? Why we have wars when it's such a stupid, senseless thing to do, or why we're killing our ecosystem when it's the only one we've got? Well, Americans got the answer to those questions this year. Even better, if you want to get technical about things: they got to actually meet the answer to those questions. The Bernie Sanders campaign forced the hidden manipulations of American politics right out into the light, the first time the beast has ever been forced to extend itself so far out of the deep, dark comfort zone it had been hiding in up until that point.
The elites of the Democratic Party, when faced with a showdown between a loyal insider who was certain to help further their neoliberal agendas and a rabble-rousing outsider who promised to oppose those agendas at every turn, figured they could count on their usual tactics like media blackouts and debate scheduling to minimize public exposure to the disruptive agitator and breeze through to the general election with their anointed queen. What they didn't count on was social media. Sanders wouldn't go away, because the public's suddenly widespread ability to network and share information at an entirely unprecedented pace kept him in the public spotlight, even while network television cameras avoided him like the plague throughout most of his campaign.
So the movers and shakers of the Democratic Party had to do a lot more moving and shaking behind the scenes than they were used to, and they got caught red-handed. They panicked, and they got caught.
Naturally, they had to push so hard and take so many risks because allowing a true progressive to take the lead of the Democratic Party would be the end of the party in all but name. Democratic politicians have long been forced to walk a precarious line between stringing along their progressive base on one hand and keeping their corporate bosses happy on the other.
Should those bosses stop funding the party, they'll all lose their jobs and the Democratic Party as we know it would cease to exist. Should they lose their progressive base, they won't have enough voter support to win elections. It's a tricky balancing act.
Well, in 2016 they stepped far to the east of that fine line as we all caught a head-on glimpse of the disgusting beast behind the curtain, and we're not going to just forget what we saw. The casual, routine way the DNC brass are shown brazenly assaulting American democracy over and over and over again in those emails shows that none of this was in any way new or outside the normal way the Democratic Party conducts its internal affairs behind closed doors. And as I pointed out the other day, rank and file Dems are all acting as though this is perfectly normal and acceptable, which of course means that none of it is going to change.
I literally had a Hillary supporter tell me today that the illicit primary isn't a big deal because elections don't matter, that it's organization and activism that gets things done. He ran away (as they so often do) when I challenged him on this, so I'll just share what I would have told him with you, dear reader:
Organization and activism is not to sway politicians, it's to sway the people. Get enough people looking at the issue your activism is calling attention to, and you get them talking to their friends and writing their congressman and getting journalists salivating over a hot story, and eventually it becomes a hot enough issue that the politicians say "Holy smokes I'd better appease the people or it'll cost me the next election!"
Notice how it comes right back to elections? No elections, no activism. The people do not have a voice if their election process is manipulated by the people responsible for ensuring their fairness.
So I say the hell with them all. Let's collapse their progressive base; should be easy enough to do, seeing as it's us. Centrists will stay with the Democrats, Democrats will compensate for the loss of our support by absorbing votes from the crumbling Republican Party like they're already doing now, and the Greens can take their place as the major party on the left.