Let’s face it, we lost.
By “we”, I mean all of us who saw in the Bernie Sanders primary campaign a possibility of real leadership for the people, all of us who made phone calls, knocked on doors, sat behind info tables, talked him up to other voters when only 3% of them even knew who he was, all of us who wrote passionately in our social media circles. The presidential nomination was the prize, and we lost it.
And though some of us look at the arc of the campaign and see success beyond anything we thought possible when it started — massive enthusiastic crowds at his rallies, support from close to half of all Democratic primary voters, a prominent and honored place within the party for America’s most successful advocate of democratic socialism, the most progressive platform put forward by a leading political party in modern history — many have allowed their disappointment to turn into discouragement, even to apathy.
But if our aim was to place Bernie Sanders in a position where he could lead the fight for the values we share — social, economic, environmental and racial justice — then the fight’s not over. We can still win that fight.
If the Democrats win enough seats to take over the Senate, Bernie takes back the chairmanship of the Veterans Committee, from which he can continue his long record of service to vets’ causes, and protect the VA from privatization. He also serves on the Senate committees for Environment and Public Works, Energy and Natural Resources, as well as Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Think of the good he could do for energy and global warming policy, for air and water safety, access to health care and education, jobs programs targeting infrastructure, protection and expansion of Social Security, if the voters of America give him a majority voice in those chambers.
But wait, there’s more!
Bernie is the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee. Under a Democratic majority, he takes over the chair and becomes one of the most powerful people in the government when it comes to setting priorities for revenue and spending, more powerful in this arena than he would have been from behind the desk in the Oval Office.
If you’re a Bernie dreamer and you live in one of the thirty-four states where a U.S. Senate seat is on the ballot, you can still make that dream come true.
And especially if you’re a voter in one of those states where the Senate race is, or could become, a toss-up — North Carolina, New Hampshire, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Florida, Indiana, Illinois.
Check your registration status, find out where and when you can vote, pull the lever for whomever your conscience compels you to support for President, but in the more important, and still winnable, fight for control of the Senate and indirectly of every federal judgeship up to the Supreme Court, every Cabinet member and administrative appointee no matter who wins the White House, to make Bernie one of the most powerful people in DC, vote to take the Senate back from Mitch McConnell and the know-nothing, do-nothing party that made the Drumpf their leader.
Do it for Bernie!
(PS, while you’re at it, vote against the Repugs for the House, and all your state and local offices as well. Do it for yourself, your family and your friends)
(PPS, no matter how disappointed you are in HRC, consider how helpful it would be to have someone in the White House to sign the progressive bills Bernie and others would craft on our behalf. Just sayin’)