#BernieorBust Will Destroy All Old Bernie Burned For
At this point-if Sanders isn’t our prez I almost,…almost, hope trump gets it just outta spite.” — A passionate #BernieorBust bro
Now that Bernie seems to finally have accepted a level of defeat — like Peyton, he needs a little goodbye tour but he’s mentioned looking forward to working with Hillary to defeat Trump and a possible deembarkment date of Tuesday — the only question left in the race for the 1600 Pennsylvania is WWBD. That is, what will the Berners do? And does the #BernieorBust crowd realize what exactly is at stake if they let their passion for progressivism just fizzle out? Or how big of hypocrites they will become if they actually follow through on that promise?
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Hillary-a?
First, we have to try and understand why people who were so passionate about an extremely progressive candidate could feel such dislike towards a slightly-less progressive candidate who in some ways is just as revolutionary if you take into account the fact that she’s the culmination of a long march for civil rights.
But Hillary’s biggest problem is perception. She’s not great at arousing unbridled passion, doesn’t talk in impossible absolutes and doesn’t make promises she can’t keep. That’s why people have trouble realizing she and Bernie are a lot more similar than anybody might like to think.
Here’s where they stand on what are seemingly the major issues:
Increasing Minimum Wage
- Hillary: For it (to $12 and hopefully more)
- Bernie: For it (to $15 regardless of consequences to businesses and consumer prices)
Paid Maternity/Sick Leave:
- Hillary: For 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave
- Bernie: For it, doesn’t say how much but he supported an act to give 12 weeks
Federally-funded Early Childhood Education:
- Hillary: For it
- Bernie: For it
Tougher regulation on Wall Street:
- Hillary: For it
- Bernie: For it
Wait, what? The big dialogue is that Hillary is a Wall Street puppet while Bernie’s the cantankerous old knight on a dime-store horse looking to storm the great Wall of depravity, how can I be so bold as to lump them together? What we’re looking at here is the difference between the two candidates’ approaches to governance, beautifully illustrated through this issue. Bernie has called for broad, generalized changes. A centerpiece has been breaking up the too-big-to fails (though when pressed for how to do it, he couldn’t explain how he would). Hillary, on the other hand, has called for more strategic moves that encourage banks to break up via tax penalties but don’t force it; called for essentially an end to HFT; and regulation of shadow banking (think the hedge funds run like ponzi schemes, the mutual funds that sold mortgage-backed-securities as retirement investments and the credit default swaps that turned million-dollar bets into billion-dollar+ bets). He’s called for bring back Glass-Steagal and she’s called for ending a loophole in Dodd Frank and the debates on the effectiveness of either of these moves are are plentiful enough that you can Google them yourself.
By the way, as an aside, do you like Google? Facebook? Apple? Twitter? They were all made possible, and have become the global standards and arguably America’s most relevant and admired export, thanks to Wall Street.
Regardless, they’re both for increasing regulation of Wall Street. Hillary’s plan is just a bit more strategic and for that reason more feasible. Let’s not forget that most people’s retirement plans are handled by larger banks simply because they are the only ones equipped to handle them. And what does #BernieorBust think a billionaire businessman who depends on other people funding his developments will really do with Wall Street if he becomes president?
Increasing environmental protections:
- Hillary: For it
- Bernie: For it, overwhelmingly so
Again, his plan is basically to dismantle the current oil-based infrastructure in exchange for greater support of renewables. Great in principle. But since we currently aren’t anywhere NEAR sustainability, and since there’s still a large chunk of this nation dependent on fossil fuel-based industries — not just oil execs but especially blue collar workers all over the nation — the success of his plan could be disastrous for our nation in the short run. It would especially ruin rural blue collar Trump supporters. Which pretty much means the Right will have never let it be enacted. Again, the difference: feasible moderation vs. promising dream outcomes that one would’t have been able to deliver.
- Hillary: For it
- Bernie: Against it
While Bernie’s idea that the slowing of international trade to return jobs to America has some face value appeal, when you really look into it, its effects on American workers are murky at best and may actually hurt the American blue collar citizen.
Across-the-board Free Public College:
- Hillary: Against it
- Bernie: For it
Hillary’s plan is, again, a bit more nuanced. If you qualify for federal funding, it will be free for you. But if your family can afford your college, they will be paying for it. Which actually gives people with less money a slight step towards equality versus Bernie’s plan. But in the end, they’re pretty damn similar.
- Hillary: For it
- Bernie: Against it
Universal health care:
- Hillary: Against it; rather she’s for improving health care coverage but would build on the gains of Obamacare instead of repeating her 1993 failure.
- Bernie: For it
Good luck taking down the entrenched insurance and health infrastructure in 4-8 years, even after both Hillary and Obama tried doing it with much more House support and ended up with nothing (HRC) and a bastardized version of his original goal (BO).
But the biggest difference between them? A great article in the Atlantic summed it up: Bernie is an insurrectionist, Hillary an institutionalist. That is, Hillary is looking to improve the current institutions; Bernie wants to destroy them and start over.
Which sounds good in principle but short an armed revolution, such a burndown-phoenix-rising is impossible, especially in the span of a generation much less a presidential term.
So their goals are the same. She’s just been a part of campaigns claiming they won’t compromise and seen how actions fail without bipartisan support, especially when the foundation of America is a system of checks and balances that promise fair input from all sides of the spectrum. So her proposals seek to push our nation forward in doable increments instead of promising everything and accomplishing nothing, as had been her stance the first time she fought for health reform.
Given the overarching similarities in their proposals, what is the fallback all #BernieorBust bros put forward for disliking Hillary? She’s an unethical liar who can’t be trusted, they say. Which is just propaganda and conjecture — and a healthy dose of misogyny — posing as truth. Because even compared to Bernie, she’s no more of a liar and flip-flopper than any other politician.
Still, if you don’t like her, if you think Trump being elected would just teach Hillary supporters a lesson without any real-world consequences, then what was the Bernie thing all about? Hillary is a progressive, albeit a more moderate one. How will a Trump presidency bring us any closer to the goals that aroused such passion in the Berners?
Let’s see what’s really at stake.
Trump is president. #BernieorBust fans rejoice?
So what would a Trump presidency mean?
There’s a lot of romance in the idea that standing for your principles means facilitating — or at least allowing — the anti-Christ to fill the void. But just what exactly would you be helping by your inaction, much less by the downright traitorous jump to the Trump side?
For starters, there will be suppression of the press, the first step in any dictatorship. Then there’s Trumpian justice, where anybody and everybody who may be in any way different from him would be removed from any office of judgment; and by the way, he’ll also put in the most conservative Supreme Court justice he could possibly find, ensuring that any progressive SCOTUS votes can be overturned. If you think Trump would be just a couple-year “fuck-you” to Hillary’s ilk, realize that his Supreme Court Justice would preside over every big decision on law and civil rights until said justice dies. We’re talking decades here.
He’ll likely give a large swath of federal lands back to states. The states will then be forced to sell to the highest bidder given the cuts in federal funding such a cornerstone of Trump’s uber-GOP agenda, one of the few ways he’s aligned with the GOP establishment. So say goodbye to outdoor adventures.
And if you think Hillary’s pro-oil? Trump’s friends are oil people and construction folks looking to develop land. Hell, that’s his business, the one being run by his robotic children of the corn. Think they won’t get nice cush government contracts to tear apart everything beautiful and serene and make monstrous iron phalluses solely for the purpose of the Trump name getting to fuck the skyline?
So if you value the environment, civil rights, diversity, slowing of development and in general progressive values, Trump at the head of a GOP-dominated house will be able in just a few years to set America back decades.
That’s the definition of cutting off your face to spite your nose.
Only A Sith Deals In Absolutes
Bernie has aroused passion in his followers, the passion of hope for unbridled change without compromise. There’s only one system of government that refuses compromise, though, a dictatorship. Bernie understands this, thus his recent declaration that he would work with Hillary to defeat Trump.
Bernie and the Berners spoke of revolution. But true revolution can only be achieved by the destruction of the infrastructure that supports the current system of leadership. In fact, Albert Camus ventured to say that true revolution doesn’t even take place then; new forms of governance will eventually just be more establishment, no, only through the complete and total discard of the system as we know it will true revolution happen. That doesn’t mean getting a new head to a sick body. That means killing the body and the head and embracing whatever shapeless mass passes for social order in its wake. Think organized anarchy.
In America that would mean the dismantling of Congress, the Senate; destruction of the economic and business systems that have made us arguably the most financially prosperous in the world; the nullification of current courts of law and legal process; generally a destruction of the United States of America followed by a prolonged plunge into chaos, such as can only be achieved through armed conflict and after the suffering or many. That’s why Bernie’s ideas, as wonderful as they were, would never have worked.
But they sparked a fire that’s beautiful to see. It inspires a cynic with hope for the future of a nation growing frighteningly conservative and stodgy and passionless. The next step for true believers in Bernie’s message is to start affecting change at local levels. Electing new congressmen and women, new senators, new mayors and governors and state judges and city councilors. And on a macro level, it means supporting a president who, if she’s not going to go for an impossible leap in the right direction, will at least keep the momentum going forward until the body catches up. A Hillary win will no doubt inspire many to push for changes to their state representatives. That uninterrupted forward movement, however measured, will be the legacy of Bernie’s movement, what the Berners can be and do to continue the charge.
To allow or even help Trump (and yes, writing in “Bernie” is helping Trump) get elected? Let’s be honest, I’m a white married man with a beautiful blond-haired blue-eyed wife and a beautiful blond-haired blue-eyed son who lives in the Tetons. Absent maybe losing some nearby public lands (though my main playgrounds, Grand Teton and the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, will never be touched lest people incite fury from Ulysses S. Grant‘s and Teddy Roosevelt‘s ghosts)(the two American presidents whose ghosts you should be most afraid of) a Trump presidency probably won’t hurt me too much. Probably have to tell people I’m from Canada when I go abroad. But it’s a glaring example of privilege for Berners to say they’d hope for a Trump presidency out of spite. It’s not their families that will have to live in fear of deportation, of no-fly lists and increased surveillance. They won’t have to pee in the wrong bathroom or be denied access to see their same-sex partner in the hospital because their marriage was nullified. They won’t be the victims of emboldened anti-dark/gay/foreigner mobs.
Keep the Fight and the Bern Going
The projected battleground states are Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Florida, Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire. But given Trump’s outreach to the disaffected and angry looking to return to a world where gays and Mexicans and non-Christians took their place in the shadows, his appeal to the racist corners of seemingly every state, even Dem-havens could be in danger of rolling back. Hell, it’s already happening with reactionary laws over bathrooms and abortion in red states; how long before California rednecks decide to come out of the woodworks and turn it back into the oil-drilling, worker-punishing religious-right bastion it used to be?
If Bernie’s passionate and emboldened fighters for the future give up on politics, if they refuse to compromise by supporting a more moderate progressive, there’s a very real chance that America could again become a corn-pone jumble of hypocrites and xenophobes; that we’ll again be a nation that saved opportunity for the homogeneous few and trampled on everybody who wasn’t a white straight male. If the loss of their less-experienced underdog to a more moderate and accomplished politician makes them pout in a corner for the rest of the year, that’s not the act of a brave revolutionary; it’s the act of a petulant child.
And if #BernieorBust is embraced, all Bernie and his supporters fought for will be lost. What could have been a triumphant legacy for the beginning of a movement forward could instead be the death of everything the dreamer and his followers believed in. What could have sparked a groundswell of progressivism to remake America from the bottom up while the person at the top makes small advances until her heir (who could be named O’Malley, after all) can be elected to run a nation now ready to institute real changes will instead leave a vacuum for the rebirth of a protectionist philosophy currently on the ropes. If Trump wins, the reactionary-Republican death throes will turn into a groundswell of support for anti-progressivist rollbacks.
In which case your convictions weren’t admirable or revolutionary or even real; they were just hype, lip service far more egregious than anything Hillary has ever been accused of uttering.
You weren’t a revolutionary. You just wanted to play one on TV.