The Revolution Will Not Be Clintonized

By | 7/13/2016 13 comments

The sight of a restrained, almost contrite Bernie Sanders sharing the stage with his longtime political opponent on Tuesday to announce his endorsement of the former secretary of state was almost hard to watch.

After a long, grueling 15 months of campaigning – and seeing his little-engine-that-could grassroots organization blossom into a political movement that came tantalizingly close to taking down the might of the establishment system – it was finally time for him to acquiesce to protocol and offer his sanction to the party’s presumptive nominee.

One can only imagine how difficult it must have been for him to deliver his almost 30 minute long speech while Clinton – alternately clapping somberly and nodding in her characteristic bobblehead-style, or wryly grinning while theatrically acknowledging people in the audience who probably didn’t actually exist – stood as close to him as possible to ensure the media would be flooded with images of them standing “stronger together.”

Yet far from appearing stronger together, they seemed decidedly awkward and stiff in each others presence, their body language unable to mask their months of often bitter rivalry.

Sanders became notably more animated and assertive during the parts of his address that hewed closer to his standard stump speech, but again it must have felt strangely dichotomous to deliver lines such as “Drug companies should not be making billions in profit while 1 out of 5 Americans are unable to afford the medicine they need. The greed of the drug companies must end!” knowing all the while that the candidate standing to his right – the one receiving his official backing – received more campaign donations from the pharmaceutical industry than any candidate from either party.

Clinton’s demeanor on the other hand couldn’t have been more different. She positively beamed with confidence and self-satisfaction, happy to give the Vermont Senator all the time he needed to at last deliver the endorsement that she and her campaign had been waiting so impatiently for. This, after all, was the moment that the thorn in her side that Sanders had represented for so long was finally to be removed.

But was it?

“Not Me, Us” has been one of the Sanders campaign’s most prominent slogans, and it’s a point that the candidate himself has gone to great lengths to emphasize throughout the contest. Unlike other presidential candidates – past and present – it was never his intention to create a cult of personality around himself, but rather to open people’s eyes to a rigged economy and a rigged political system and to instill in them the belief that if they were united together they held the real potential of achieving a fairer and more inclusive society.

From its humble origins, his political revolution took off in a way that no one could have possibly imagined or predicted – not the man himself and certainly not the Clinton campaign and its DNC backers, whose parade he was now raining heavily upon.

However, despite the fact that his candidacy continued to grow in popularity as the race progressed, the clock eventually ran out on him. Having been sidelined, obstructed and much worse by a Democratic National Committee determined to install their establishment candidate of choice, Sanders’ insurgent campaign saw the title of presumptive nominee slip through its fingers.

So while Clinton may have been all smiles as a weary, troubled-looking Bernie Sanders joylessly announced his backing of her nomination to head the party, the people who had been electrified and energized by the Vermont Senator’s quest were in decidedly less good spirits – and understandably so.

But Clinton’s perceived victory over Sanders may well turn out to be of the Pyrrhic kind, as the endorsement of the man is not the endorsement of the movement. While a number of his supporters will likely hold their noses and vote the Democratic ticket in November come what may, many will not. Sanders awoke a sleeping giant in the American electorate, many of whom were disenfranchised, disillusioned, non-politicized and otherwise divorced or estranged from the democratic process. Those voters have been empowered by this election and given a palpable sense of what is possible when ordinary people band together and stand up to the career-driven political elites and their corporate sponsors.

It may well turn out that endorsing Clinton a full two weeks before the convention was agreed upon by the Sanders campaign in order to gain as much influence as possible in the makeup of the party platform. But while that might be an admirable intention, it could have the very real effect of hobbling Sanders’ standing at the convention itself, as many of his grassroots delegates – already struggling to fund their trips to Philadelphia and now suddenly disillusioned by his preemptive endorsement – may now lose the impetus to show up at all. And that’s probably just how Clinton and the DNC planned it.

The upshot:

What happens now to the people behind the movement remains to be seen. Some will gravitate toward Jill Stein and the Green Party or another third party alternative, while others – in their disgust of Clinton – may feel drawn to vote for Donald Trump, if only in protest. And some will doubtless opt to sit out this election altogether, choosing to regroup and plot a course for a movement that is for now feeling somewhat downcast and adrift.

But one thing remains certain: No amount of endorsements from one man entangled in a political apparatus designed to stifle him will ever convince them to cast their votes for Hillary Rodham Clinton. The genie – the political revolution – is already out of the bottle.

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  1. Bernie's endorsement of $hillary reminded me of the photo taken by the North Vietnamese of our military men they held in captivity.The meaning unknown to the NV, many of the men extended a middle finger toward the camera.

    1. Whatever the meaning the analogy is unsettling-- most US soldiers who were captured were guilty of bombing civilians in North Vietnam, an horrendous war crime.


    With Senator Sanders endorsement of Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, the time is NOW to enact Plan G (Green Party)!

    I encourage everyone who's NOT a delegate, to click on the link below and take the Revolution or bust (formerly Bernie or Bust) pledge and then leave the Democratic Party ASAP and register as a green or independent!

    If you ARE a delegate, please click on the link above to take the Revolution or Bust pledge. AFTER THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION if Bernie's not the nominee, please leave the Democratic Party by registering as green or independent.

    Lastly, with the exception of Bernie endorsed candidates, please remember to vote AGAINST every democratic and republican incumbent running for reelection in November in ALL down ballot races by voting for the Green Party candidate. If no Green Party candidate is on the ballot, vote for the independent candidate. We need to clean out all houses of government by firing as many corrupt democrats and republicans as possible.



  3. Hillary , Trump, Obama, & Sanders all want the job. If Obama can start WWlll he thinks he can stay in for a third term, Hillary can not beat Trump, Sanders could beat all of them.

  4. We are showing up, more than showing up in Philly... in droves. That is one thing this article got dead wrong.

    1. Bernie has announced for his supporters to attend the convention and vote for him. In order to speak at the convention, he was required to endorse Clinton according to the rules. Please don't jump ship. FDR was forced to endorse the other candidate then went on to win the convention. Please go to the convention! Bernie is expecting delegates to vote! Bernie Sanders for president!

  5. Bernie has endorsed but not conceded and he needs ALL of his delegates - OUR delegates - to join him at the convention. Help fund a delegate or three today! A vetted list of delegates (regular working people like you & me)still in need of help with travel costs etc., here:

  6. The remarks that Bernie "had to" endorse are untrue as are the comments about FDR; FDR had the delegate count. At best, Bernie wants everyone except the delegates to jump ship (#DemExodus) now so that the DNC and the Establishment know we mean business! There's some stuff going on behind the scenes but not matter what, we must #DEMExitNOW and #GoGreen to send a strong message to them! No matter that the DEM party may or will split. It needs to! Don't forget about the Independents who never cast a vote in the primaries! 43% of all registered voters are Indies! Likely the majority will #GoGree without Bernie being the DEM Nominee. He very may well break his word and jump ship too! We can still win this #PoliticalRevolution

  7. By his endorsement of her he has shown continued respect for the election process even though he doesn't agree with it,. AND has aligned himself with Hillary's supporters and it is a brilliant chess move. He knows what he's doing. If you can,.. go to the convention!

  8. #BernieOrBust is still a thing. I'll be writing in Bernie. For Vermont.

    1. Yes indeed, Bernie or Bust!
      I have pens ~ blue and black ink.

  9. Aloha! Please Help Hawai`i ‪#‎BernieDelegates‬ who must pay more & travel further! Many of our dedicated berners have only reached the 1/2 way point on their funding goals!
    HERE: Hawaii Bernie Delegate Fund ~ Mahalo!!!…/…

    * Dylan -
    * Trish -
    * Tina -
    * Mike -
    * Kehau -
    * Josh -
    * Netra -
    * Ken -
    * Bobbi -
    * Terez -
    * Raina -
    * Jason -
    * Asami -
    * Chelsea -
    * Bart -
    * John -

  10. Because Trumpian authoritarianism and Clintonian neoliberalism are features of one coordinating and always interlacing mode of rule, both convention centers should become sites of creative mass mobilization and protest. Our movements need to build a sense of the people’s rejection of both candidates, of both standing parties and of most of the electoral processes as we know them today.