Thursday, May 19, 2016

Danger Time

I’m concerned about recent developments in this election campaign, developments that endanger the possibility of defeating Donald Trump, the GOP’s “presumptive nominee.”

The ruckus that occurred at the Nevada Democratic Party’s convention was scary. And Bernie Sanders’ reaction to it made it scarier. Yes, he condemned whatever violence may have been triggered by his supporters, as well as subsequent threats against the party’s chairwoman and her family, but that was overshadowed by his emphatic criticism of the Nevada Democratic Party.

What did or did not occur at that convention may be arguable, but as we draw closer to the last primaries and the two national conventions, it’s time for reality to subdue animosity. Bernie should continue his vital campaign, stressing his relatively revolutionary program. But he should not do it at the risk of undermining the critical need of defeating Trump. In short, Sanders should tone down, not ramp up, his criticism of Hillary Clinton — who, according to the math, will be the Democratic nominee. He has already served the positive role of pushing her leftward in her pronouncements. And he should fight for his program at the Democratic Convention.

Bernie constantly reminds his audience that polls show that he would have a better chance of defeating Trump than Hillary would. Perhaps he would, perhaps he wouldn’t. At this stage of the campaign that can’t be assured. Nevertheless, it’s all the more reason for him to lend to her campaign all the political heft he has earned. I disagree completely with the attitude expressed by Sanders supporter Mayor Bao Nguyen of Garden Grove, California, who was quoted in The New York Times (5/19) as saying: “Senator Sanders isn’t obliged to help Secretary Clinton if she wins.”

A powerful column against Trump’s candidacy appeared in the Washington Post (5/19), written by Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. The headline read: “This is how fascism comes to America.” No more quotation is needed.

In any struggle — electoral, generally political or labor — the imperative aims must dominate all other considerations and actions. In this case, it’s making sure that Donald Trump doesn’t occupy the Oval Office. We should not be complacent about the danger he represents. He has stirred up deep dissatisfaction among large sections of the population — some of it warranted by economic inequality (Bernie’s major thrust), but much of it xenophobic and racist. (Didn’t they laugh at Hitler during his early rise?)

It’s time for Bernie to direct his main fire on the main enemy, and to do all he can to encourage his supporters to do likewise.


  1. Bernie can't bring the revolution to a halt now, but I agree he needs to tread lightly on Hillary.

  2. I competely agree. Having said that, the behavior of HRC and the Democratic establishment in trying to marginalize the Sanders delegates should not be ignored because it feeds the destructive do or die attitude by some Sanders supporters. The danger of a Trump victory is real and very dangerous. Any Sanders supporter who doesn't see that and who stupidly (and blindly) equates Clinton with Trump and therefore calls for a boycott in November is helping to elect him.

  3. I'm inclined to disagree. While I understand your perspective, we operate out of fear so much when it comes to voting. I seem to be voting out of fear of the opposition winning more so than for the ideal candidate most of the time but I still want to believe in the ideal. Granted, I am writing this as the media is now finally stressing what I knew all along - Trump can't win on the white male vote alone. The Republicans knew this after the last presidential election. Isolationg women, hispanics and the African American vote when as one news reporter put it, 'this is the brownest our country has ever been' will never get you the majority of the vote. Sanders represents the ideal. What a politician is supposed to be. A person who believes and strives to make our country better and fair. There is no personal agenda here, no desire to be at the top solely to make history. As such, he should run campaign not based out of fear of Trump winning but but for what he believes in - for the ideal. He is playing to win - not in the presidential sense at this point, but to gain as much power as he can so that Clinton agrees to make his very valid issues a priority. The more delegates he brings to the convention, the more power he has in the Clinton camp as she needs his followers to win. Sanders is what a politician is supposed to be.