At no point during last year’s presidential campaign did I support Bernie Sanders. I wrote columns for Paste with titles like “There Are Bigger Concerns Than the DNC Emails: Do Not Vote Your Conscience,” “Why the Green Party is For Dupes (It Has Nothing To Do With Trump),” and “The Modern WWE is the Perfect Model for the Bernie Sanders Revolution.” The latter was all about how WWE fans stayed engaged with the corporate oligarchy controlling the WWE—and did not completely abandon it for greener, independent pastures—with the end-result being a shift towards the grassroots changes they demanded. I wrote passages like this about Hillary Clinton:
She has been working for the Democrats since 1971, raising millions of dollars for candidates all over the country. When she served as Secretary of State, her favorability peaked at 65%. In June of last year, 50% said they would be unwilling to vote for any socialist (and yes, there is an important distinction between socialist and democratic socialist, but let’s be real here, most Americans only hear “socialist”). Historically, Hillary has been fairly popular, and she’s done more for the party than anyone running. Of course the DNC would want her to win.
This was not borne out of a preference for Hillary Clinton—she simply was the only feasible option I saw based on policy. If I could pick anyone to be my presidential candidate, Hillary would fall somewhere on the list between Roger Goodell and Genghis Khan. Bernie Sanders is too liberal and isolationist for my politics, and his plan to grow the federal bureaucracy tenfold made my stomach turn. I didn’t feel that his platform was well-thought out, with the prominent example being his healthcare plan. Kenneth Thorpe—a public-health expert at Emory University—calculated that Bernie Sanders’ plan would drastically hurt the poor. But instead of challenging this assertion, the Sanders campaign argued that they subsidized the massive losses the poor would take through a $15 per hour minimum wage, and never clarified what would happen if one passed without the other. Sanders’ platform was so inter-connected that all the Republicans in Congress needed to do was block one policy, and the entire house of cards would come crashing down.
That said, a deck of cards strewn about the American household creating trillions of dollars in new debt is far preferable to the Onion article we are currently living through with President Donald Trump.
Apologies, I still pass out every time I write that phrase. Where was I again? Oh right.
Bernie, we need you. Now, more than ever. There has never been a better opportunity to dissolve the two-party duopoly designed to eliminate our common ground—creating the hyper-partisan conditions which allowed Donald Trump to waltz into the Oval Office. Given the early trend of Trump’s historically low approval ratings, a gallon of expired milk would be a two-to-one favorite over him in 2020 (a generic Democrat is only even odds to win—note: I came up with that line as a joke before looking up the actual odds. Holy crap.). There will likely never be a better opportunity for an independent candidate to win the presidency. It would be an uphill battle given the trillions of dollars invested in this hegemony, but Bernie Sanders is the only third-party politician with a large enough following to unchain us from our puppet masters.
The Democratic party is hopeless. Cubic tons of digital ink have spelled out Donald Trump’s lack of qualification for office over the past year, and it has all been proven true in less than a month. So what does that say about a party who is unable to defeat a candidate with the emotional and mental capacity of a howler monkey freebasing Fourloko? In the wake of the most embarrassing defeat in American (global?) political history, the Democratic establishment has hidden behind the perfectly legitimate Russian narrative as an illegitimate explanation for Hillary Clinton’s loss. Prior to Nov. 8, 2016, I had hope that the rise of the Tea Party-esque progressive movement could jerk the Democrats back towards reality, but now I see that was clearly a pipe dream. The fact that Keith Ellison isn’t a shoo-in for the DNC chair should tell you everything you need to know about this party’s priorities and electoral acumen.
The Republican Party is so cynical that it requires a new word to fully encapsulate their fraudulence. They claim to be proponents of small government, yet demand the ability to legislate what law-abiding citizens can do with the most personal portions of our bodies. Republicans like Paul Ryan (AKA: Donald Trump’s useful idiot) claim to be fiscally conservative, then blindly sign-off on an eleven-figure price tag to construct a wall above the tunnels that Mexican cartels use to bring drugs into America. Self-professed constitutionalists like Rand Paul assert that the constitution should not apply when investigating malfeasance within their own party. This party is so chock-full of frauds and cowards that “bomb anyone, anytime, anywhere” hawks like Lindsey Graham and John McCain are the only reasonable people remaining.
To the non-rich white men reading this: The Republican Party does not care about you. They simply want to toss you into the wood-chipper feeding in to the executive suites of major conglomerates across the globe, and neoliberalism is an off-brand version of this scam.
This “fuck everything but corporate profits” nihilism should be easy to run against, but the Democrats make it look more difficult than a coked-out Gary Busey trying to qualify for the Olympics. There are plenty of strong, liberal voices currently fighting for progressivism and grassroots governance within the party, but so long as they have a D next to their name, all hope is lost to facilitate real change. The Democrats have focused solely on finding candidates for national office—demonstrating their complete and utter lack of understanding as to how this country really works. For any national Democratic Party leaders who happen to be reading this, here’s a quick refresher course:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands
one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
We are a federal republic—not a democracy. They are the exact same, save for one incredibly important distinction which no prominent Democrat seems to understand. In a federal republic, individuals have sovereignty, while only majority coalitions are afforded dominion in a democracy. The benefit of a republic is that states collectively have more power to impact policy than the federal government—whereas in a democracy, whatever gets 50.1% of the vote holds all the power. While the Democrats were busy booking their version of Ted Nugent (Lena Dunham) at Congressional and Presidential rallies across the country, Republicans were grooming candidates for school boards, city councils, and local legislatures. Now we are a handful of state Congress’s away from the Democrats not even being able to block a constitutional amendment—something that is more difficult to pass than Randy Marsh’s record couric. The Democrats are more focused on being starfuckers than legislators.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty
To call the Democrats feckless, incompetent, nincompoops is an insult to the Randy Marsh’s of the world. At least they are aware of their relative idiocy. Instead, we get “let them eat bread” quotes like “we’re capitalist and that’s just the way it is” from “leaders” like Nancy Pelosi. Given that roughly half of 18 to 29 year-olds reject capitalism, tone-deaf doesn’t even begin to describe this statement. You can express support for capitalism while still acknowledging its inherent problems. If Pelosi really knew what she was doing, she’d highlight the fact that the system in which 18 to 29-year-olds have grown up within is far closer to oligarchy than it is to capitalism. Instead, she effectively told Trevor Hill—part of the endangered species known as college students who take the time to attend town halls—to go fuck himself. The Democrats treat their most passionate supporters like hostages, and nearly every party statement is dripping with the condescension of “what are you going to do? Vote for a Republican? Ha!”
In fact, that’s exactly what happened. How else do you explain President Donald Trump?
Damnit, it happened again. Sorry folks. I really should go see a doctor about this. Especially since at this rate, Donald Trump will probably ban doctors before the 2018 congressional elections.
Had Bernie Sanders ran for president as an independent, he would have been the most successful third-party candidate since Ross Perot, and likely would have been the first non-Democrat or Republican to win a state since George Wallace ran on a segregationist platform in 1968. Now? He really could win the whole damn thing. Who in the Democratic Party is more popular than he is?
According to opinion polls, no one. There isn’t a single Senator—Democrat or Republican—who is viewed in a more positive light. The only Democrats who come close to Sanders are Patrick Leahy, Thomas Carper, Sean Fitzpatrick, and Amy Klobuchar—and only one of those is a made-up person. I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of people can’t tell which one is fake, since I sure wouldn’t have been able to without help from the link above (Patrick Leahy is clearly authentic because we have video of him nearly being murdered by the Joker). The Democrats paint themselves as the young, hip party, yet their roster is filled to the brim with geriatrics. In reality, the Republicans have far more candidates not currently collecting social security.
Policy is what grown-up countries base their elections on, but the last 25 years have proven that we are clearly through the looking glass, and we want to vote for a president who “we can have a beer with” (Clinton, Bush, Obama), or one who claims to “hear us” (Trump). American presidential campaigns have all the maturity of a student council election with half the debate over policy, and we need to find a way to reverse course before we further our descent into a banana republic. I may not agree with Bernie Sanders’ specific plans, but his ability to rid ourselves of the oligarchy suffocating our politics outweighs any quibbles I have with his platform. Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat, and he only became one because he actually wanted to win an election. Now, this is his party if he wants it.
With Donald Trump’s successful transformation from a pro-choice, universal-healthcare loving liberal to a “conservative” immigration hawk, we have officially entered an era where party affiliation is secondary to the candidate—and Sanders has the largest built-in coalition of any politician outside the fascist Cheeto currently heading the executive branch. The Democratic Party has taken its progressive wing for granted for far too long, and it’s time to cut the cord. Bernie Sanders is our only realistic hope, and this Sanders non-supporter will be at the front of the line to volunteer for his campaign if he ever decides to take the necessary step to give the Democratic Party the public execution it so richly deserves.
Jacob Weindling is Paste’s business and media editor, as well as a staff writer for politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.