*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
One thing all campaigns and political parties crusade to achieve is party unity, particularly going into a presidential election after a combative primary race. However, to achieve even a semblance of party unity requires a concerted effort from everyone within the party; providing they know something about the Party in the first place.
On Sunday, prior to the DNC’s big show in Philadelphia, Senator Bernie Sanders had to weigh in and comment after Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced her departure as DNC Chairwoman. There was one specific remark that revealed, in a blazing display of either hubris or ignorance, precisely why Hillary Clinton garnered more votes from Democrats than Sanders; he is not really a Democrat. The revelation that revealed the registered Independent from Vermont’s identity as not a Democrat was:
“The [Democratic] party now needs new leadership that will open the doors of the party and welcome in working people and young people.”
Let that statement sink in for a minute. A “Democrat for life” would never have made such a comment and still expect to be considered a Democrat. One might expect to hear that from a Republican, but never from a career establishment politician with more than a passing knowledge of Democrats and their past and present political agenda and policies.
That stunning remark is tantamount to a white supremacist counseling the NAACP to get new leadership that will open its doors and welcome in African Americans, or scolding the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and demanding it opens its doors and welcomes members of the LGBTQ community.
For as many decades as this author has participated in the electoral process, only the Democratic Party has welcomed, advocated for, and worked tirelessly to advance the interests of working families, young people, minorities and all Americans. Just 8 years ago a lifelong Democrat, one Barack Obama, successfully campaigned on, and won two general elections, advocating for working families and young people; two groups that aided in his ascendance and two-term tenure in the White House.
Senator Sanders knows this as well as he knows he is an Independent from Vermont. Of all the comments the Senator could have made about Wasserman Schultz’s resignation, he certainly could have devised something other than calling for Democrats to do what they have been doing for decades or complain they didn’t embrace his candidacy after decades of criticizing Democrats for not being socialists.
The second part of Senator Sanders’ comment was that, “party leadership must always remain impartial in the presidential nominating process.” One can only surmise that Mr. Sanders is either disappointed he wasn’t promoted as the be all, end all, for Democratic voters, or was not treated as a god-man who never criticized or demonized other Democrats. Frankly, it is likely that Senator Sanders was irritated that after extending him every courtesy as a non-Democrat, some within the party sent emails complaining about his campaign.
Here’s the thing: Democrats have been more than generous to Bernie Sanders and in return he has been less than grateful. For example, prior to announcing he was a “Democrat for life” less than a year ago, Democrats gladly shared campaign money donated solely for Democratic candidates, welcomed him to attend and financially benefit from Democratic fundraisers, and provided generous contributions from the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. All for a registered Independent that regularly condemned Democrats for being Democrats hewing to their long-standing party principles including working for families and young people.
The Democratic leadership didn’t complain openly even after a public admission to only joining the Democratic Party for expanded media coverage that aided the Sanders’ campaign. The Democratic leadership also did not disallow the Senator from running as a Democrat even after it was revealed his campaign “stole his opponents” campaign data.
The DNC was more than patient with Senator Sanders despite his campaign sowing mistrust among his supporters because Hillary Clinton won more votes; or demanding unprecedented outsider influence and authority over the party platform and organization; or encouraging the campaign’s supporters, many whom are also not Democrats, to take the nomination fight all the way to the convention floor to boo at real Democrats calling for party unity.
As a voter who is not a registered Democrat, it is difficult to imagine how dyed-in-the-wool party faithful are coping with an Independent calling for Democrats to start doing what they’ve done for decades. It is also a mystery why an Independent is scolding the DNC leadership for having a less-than complimentary opinion of a candidate that has been nothing but overly critical of Democrats and doesn’t seem to have a clue about what Democrats have advocated for over several decades.
At a time when Democrats have to be united to defeat an openly fascist Republican, one might have thought the eve of the Democratic National Convention would have revealed a concerted crusade for unity. Instead, one “Democrat” revealed that they either don’t have a clue about what Democrats represent, or is still contesting and opposing the will of real Democratic voters.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.