The Elections Monster (9)
After more contest than was ever expected, Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton for Democratic candidate for president of the United States yesterday, ending the Democratic primary monster.
Even though yesterday's joint appearance ends Sanders' run, most articles doing a postmortem for his campaign are dated early June, just after Clinton won the California primary. California was an undeniable turning point for Clinton; at that point, Sanders had to win it to stay alive. He didn't just lose that state, he lost everything. It's taken a month for the Sanders-Clinton detente. In the aftermath, some so-called Bernie Bros are taking it pretty hard. You have to hope that all the progressives who voted for Sanders, plenty of them women, aren't tarnished for long. It's too bad the Bernie Bro label was so effective. Clinton supporters in the media didn't have as much luck eight years ago when they were using the equally infantalizing, but entirely more racist term "Obama Boys." That is monstrous.
The whole reason this fight took so long is because the Democratic party is a hybrid monster that has been growing, probably ever since the 2000 election. It's a baying, half neo-liberal and half-progressive patchwork man, animated by mutual distrust and fear more than anything else. Now it's out of the cave and free to roam the land, using non-traditional media as a means of dispensing its message. You've seen this thing in the streets. It's got a face that changes shape: sometimes it's Ralph Nader's lazy eye, or Bernie's white friz-out; other times it could be laughing Barack Obama but with Bill Clinton's presidential jowls and rosacea. It is a two-monster, one party-body, and it has to be appeased.
The Clinton campaign actually knows this. They've shown it by leaning hard to the left on the platform. If Sanders has achieved anything—and we ignore that he raised tons of money just online, showing that it is possible to fund a campaign without favor-for-favor donations—it is the effective strength he has given the progressive side of the chimera to shape the party's ideology. There were some big failures: Clinton's camp refusing to adopt language that condemns West Bank settlements is so disappointing. If it isn't just a strategic feint, it's a policy shift that makes George W. Bush look progressive. On the flip side, in the platform for Trump's Republican party, everything bad that can happen is starting to take shape. On Israel-Palestine they've actually gone from bad to worse, denying the two-state solution. It's like how Frankenstein* was always a monster, and then one day he found that girl by the lake...
Top Image: "Stronger Together" created by me by altering an original image posted on Flickr by user DonkeyHotey at https://flickr.com/photos/47422005@N04/2441481461 under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.