I get it. Bernie rallied millions last year. He used the words “revolution” and “socialism”. It was exciting for a time in the days before the mind numbing crap of Hillary and Trump.
But that was long ago. Bernie is a Democrat. He took the position “Outreach Chair” for the national Democratic Party right after Hillary’s defeat. He’s a loyal Democrat, too, faithfully following the lead of Minority Leader Senator “Chuck” Schumer. Remember Bernie’s signature issue, single-payer, Medicare-For-All? Last November his health policy aide made the rounds and said that Sanders would not introduce a single-payer bill in 2017. He’s held true to his word. This week Ralph Nader blasted him publicly. Now, when people are open to hear an alternative to Trump’s plan, Bernie is rallying the troops to defend that insurance company health delight, Obamacare.
On April 25th Democracy Now! had a segment featuring Cornel West and former Sanders staffer Nick Brana. They were all excited by the idea of getting Sanders to run for president as part of a new party. They think “tens of millions” are ready to follow him. But it’s not going to happen. The main reasons is he doesn’t want to do it. Why don’t they listen to the real Bernie Sanders and not their fantasy of the man?
And frankly why would we want him to lead a new party?
Look how this week he threw the Palestinians under the bus. As hundreds of political prisoners starved themselves for decent conditions in jail, Bernie signed onto the disgraceful “Rubio” letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations demanding the U.N. stop criticizing Israel and claiming the U.N. is promoting anti-Semitism. Bernie was the guy who supposedly broke new ground last year by criticizing Israel and putting Sarsour and West on the Democratic platform panel. Whatever he did then, he’s doing squat for them now. Last December he voted for the bill to punish Palestinian rights campaigners on campus (the Antisemitism Awareness Act). This year he’s staying silent about an anti-free speech bill that would give federal support for states that punish businesses and groups that support boycotts of Israel. Not that he’s silent about BDS. He’s against it, period as he told al-Jazeera to the utter delight of the Zionists.
How about on Saudi Arabia? Back in 2015 he actually called for Saudi Arabia to intervene more in Syria and Iraq, “to lead the battle for the soul of Islam”. Are you kidding me? He want the head chopping women hating regime to lead the battle? They’re already in a battle, against the people of Yemen, ably supported by Obama and now Trump. “Anti-war” Bernie has never spoken out against U.S. support for that war, never called for a cut off in weapons sales to the Saudis, never even supported Sen. Chris Murphy’s efforts to put limits to the sales.
I could go on, but just one more point. The feeble Democratic party “platform” which was battled over last summer actually had one startling section “In the first 100 days of the next administration, the President will convene a summit of the world’s best engineers, climate scientists, policy experts, activists, and indigenous communities to chart a course to solve the climate crisis.” I know Hillary didn’t win, but why doesn’t Bernie call for the “summit” to be held anyway? We’re in an emergency. We’ve got a dozen years to stop the slide to climate catastrophe, not a moment to wait. Certainly we don’t have a moment to waste on yet another call for a champion who just wants to keep us in the Democratic Party, the age old graveyard of progressive action.