Tonight Bernie Sanders’ campaign won convincingly in Oregon and split the delegates with Hillary Clinton in Kentucky. The various people calling for him to drop out are not only misreading the state of things but are, deliberately or not, failing to recognize what’s animated his campaign from the beginning: the inescapable truth that all meaningful social change requires democratic struggle against the existing order.
If the political epistemology currently being advocated by many liberals had been followed throughout the 20th century, there’d be no welfare state, no equal marriage, no gender equality laws, no desegregation, and no labour movement. The fact is, not one of these things was achieved by elite pundits bleating about delegate math or publishing wonkish tirades to disguise their contempt for working people.
That America’s liberal establishment – encompassing the Democratic Party leadership, much of Wall Street, and a good chunk of the national media – is working so hard to defeat Sanders is no surprise. But it goes further than that, because they aren’t willing to stop until they’ve successfully delegitimized his entire project and branded his millions of supporters a feral minority. At the same time, they demand acquiescence from Sanders supporters. This is what the ever growing body of meta-narratives is really about: the DNC leadership knows that many of its would-be voters want a party that pursues social and economic justice, so they can’t come out and confront Sanders head on – instead, they try to sow doubt about the “realism” of his proposals, attack the rectitude of his supporters, and draw absurd comparisons to Donald Trump.
Such is their skepticism about economic justice and social equality that they appear determined to bulldoze forward with Clinton’s increasingly shaky campaign and risk losing to Donald Trump rather than winning with Bernie Sanders.
I grew up watching American liberals run from their own shadows, and concede arguments before they’d even begun. The Sanders campaign is an amazing thing to see, and I look forward to watching its momentum continue to build in the weeks ahead – the “delegate math” be damned.