Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Party Leadership
Why are the Democratic Party officials rattled by Bernie Sanders’ popularity among the Democratic Party base? Why are they, including the Congressional Black Caucus and many other Party elites, lining up to give their support to Clinton? Is it because Sanders is really leading a “political revolution” which is worrying them? Hardly. Are they worried that he may shake things up and expose the political/economic system enough to weaken the power of the ruling class that the Democratic Party is tasked to defend and protect? I don’t think so. Sanders has been in Congress for over 30 years and although he calls himself a “socialist”, has been caucusing and voting with the Democrats and his votes have been anything but revolutionary. Although he was against the 2003 war on Iraq, he supported most other wars, including President Clinton’s and consistently voted to fund the wars. He’s also been a supporter of Israel, which is another issue the US ruling class pays attention to. And, you’d have to go back some 50 years to find Sanders fighting for racial justice and equality. He had to be literally shouted at and interrupted by Black Lives Matter activists to utter the words that symbolize the movement.
Admittedly, he is a reformer, concerned about the survival of the capitalist economic system in the face of astronomical income and wealth inequality and the problems brought on by the unfettered influence of money in politics, which threatens the survivability of the system . His liberalism, however, seems to dissipate and fade when it comes to curtailing civil liberties, mass surveillance, endless wars for empire, specially the “war on terror” and the genocide against the Palestinians. He also only recently began mentioning the mass incarceration of Blacks.
So, he’s mostly on board with the status quo and party establishment, but only mostly. The point becomes clearer with a comparison. Obama, for example, always speaks highly of any prominent political figure who has served US imperialism. He not only did not bring charges against the previous administration officials for committing torture and starting a major war on lies and fabrication, but was always careful to treat them with utmost respect and affection. He also refused to hold officials of “too big to fail” banks accountable for defrauding investors, even in the face of preponderance of evidence showing crimes and, on the contrary, gave them government posts and never spoke negatively of any of the Wall Street and big banks. In the case of Monsanto, his administration went further and defended the company in court against individual small farmers. He never hesitated to start a war against any nation or assassinate anyone for empire. He has repeatedly praised President Reagan, who shifted the nation decidedly to the right and set a precedent for breaking unions. He understands that as a Democrat, his loyalty is with the ruling imperialist class, as was Reagan’s, Nixon’s, Kissinger’s, etc., regardless of whether they’re Democrats or Republican. That’s the kind of candidate the ruling class likes, and that’s the kind of Democratic candidate the Democratic Party wants, especially one who can have good rapport with minorities while serving the interests of the white billionaire class. And that’s what Clinton is.
This point and the contrast that surely didn’t get lost on the ruling class was on clear display during the last debate between the two Democratic candidates, when Henry Kissinger was mentioned. While Clinton was unable and probably also unwilling to deny her “friendship” with Kissinger, Sanders clearly and unabashedly scorned him. This is important because while many progressives, including some among supporters of the Democratic Party, admit the fact that Kissinger is a war criminal, the Democratic Party establishment as a whole doesn’t hold such a view. They’re ideologically and politically not far from Kissinger’s policies and if pushed, they will even defend him because ideologically they hold the same worldview. At most, they may criticize him for some of his policies, but don’t reject him and his “services to the nation”. The same goes for George W. Bush and especially Reagan and Bush Sr.
In other words, there is unanimity and unity among the Party leadership around the long term policies of the empire and on the need to not implicate, in any way, the servants of the empire and not to rattle the Wall Street and the big corporations and their lobbyists, even as many of their Democratic supporters want them to. Clinton, relatively speaking, is a more known and trusted player with the Democratic Party establishment than Sanders. This is not to say that Sanders really wants or can bring about real fundamental change or that his is truly a “political revolution”, as he says it is, but Clinton is a more trusted agent of big capital and corrupt lobbyist based electoral system that the Democratic Party practices. Sanders isn’t as much of a progressive reformer as the Democratic Party fears, but they figure why take chances and alienate their billionaire bosses and donors. This is why the Party will continue to make it hard for Sanders to win the nomination, contrary to the desire of their own base.
Lastly, the question to wonder is: will Sanders, give his support to Clinton and endorse her should he lose the race to her with the help of the Party officials? I think so and when and if he does, it will speak volumes about him and his so-called “political revolution”.