May 26, 2016 at 2:54 pm EDT | by David J. Hoffman
Bernie leads the revolution we need
Bernie Sanders, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) (Photo by Gino Santa Maria; courtesy Bigstock)

That the Blade would decide to endorse Secretary Hillary Clinton for president was not a big-whoop surprise. You could feel it coming long before it arrived, like a train chugging its way around the far bend of the tracks.

I’m not saying it was a “railroad” deal, however. That endorsement came, I’m sure, only after careful thought about what will be best for the same-sex-affection minority and equal rights for all.

After all, the Human Rights Campaign and other members of the Establishment Episcopacy within the national Democratic Party have also rallied to Hillary’s side and against Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Even though Bernie is the right choice on the issues — as well as the politics. And on that calculus the Blade has simply gotten it quite wrong.

Bernie was long almost alone, rare among national political figures in the Democratic Party, who stood four-square for LGBTQ rights, including marriage equality and of course an end to discrimination in military recruitment. And Hillary was dilatory, dragging her feet, ever-cautious, never aspirational, just a pillar of the status quo. Because that’s who she is in her political DNA.

But for the Blade’s editorial to condemn Sanders as a “shrill voice” — on key issues of inequality when it comes to wealth and income, and political power — that eye-rolling charge is really a bit much. After all, these issues are crucial, both to the future of this country as well as to a Democratic Party that is now so far down in the dumps electorally that the last time its strength in the U.S. House of Representatives was this low, it was 1928, before the Great Depression of the 1930s.

But call me optimistic. There is a way forward to a new and powerful progressive majority, to take back not only the U.S. Senate, but also to take a big bite out of the apple of winning back the House. That way forward does not lie through the too-cautious-by half, Clinton-style “triangulations” of Hillary’s small-bore incrementalism. It will spring instead from a full-throated cry (not shrill, but certainly sharp) for a new “New Deal” and a “decent society” as Paul Goodman used to say.

The electoral map is spinning beneath our feet, as Donald Trump (narcissistic, bullying, yet entertaining no doubt, in a crude and racist and sexist way) now moves into a tie with Hillary. Trump is beaten, however, by Bernie whenever they are paired head to head.

If Establishment Democrats were smarter (they aren’t), they would recognize that it will indeed take something BIG to win this year, both in ideas and in efforts. No, it won’t be easy, not in an era of SuperPACs like Hillary’s and the Citizens United decision on campaign spending rights by the rich to buy elections and rig conventions. But it’s a “political revolution” that we need in 2016, something that’s happened before, with Andrew Jackson in the 1820s, though few men even then, in his now-distant era, were as racist as Jackson; and of course with FDR in the 1930s, when huge Democratic majorities in Congress, elected on Roosevelt’s coat-tails, enacted Social Security. In other words, standing tall instead of kneeling.

But what’s so wrong with Hillary?  So you might ask, and the Blade appears to believe, that the answer is very little. But I disagree. Let me count the ways.

She opposes a single-payer Medicare-for-all healthcare system, which America needs, and would cut costs, the way every other advanced nation does. She opposes free tuition for public universities and colleges and opposes a national $15 minimum wage.

And we need to push ahead further for card-check unionization and a full-court press to end mass incarceration, the system of “the new Jim Crow” enacted in great measure by Bill Clinton, and Hillary as first lady was his enabler, and who only now seeks to wash her hands, to cleanse herself of guilt, in effect crying aloud, “Out, out damned spot!”

Also, Hillary’s personal negatives are “yuge,” as The Donald would say, based on way too many Clinton scandals.

Bernie should remain in the race all the way through the California primary, where he can pile up a large number of pledged delegates, and then comes the final election, the one we hold here in the District on June 14.

That’s exactly why Bernie’s supporters will ask for your votes on June 14. Only with a large body of delegates pledged to Bernie, not Hillary, will we stand a real chance of writing a progressive platform.

Yes, all sides must finally rally at the end to support the eventual nominee, whoever she will be. But until that time, the fight is on! And that’s where you come in. Join the “political revolution” we need, the one right here in D.C. and feel the Bern!

David Hoffman is a D.C.-based writer.

  • It is difficult to continue to claim you are leading a ‘revolution’ when you can’t get people out to vote for it. The misnomer that Sanders was a leader in the LGBT movement has been debunked many times. But I agree Sanders brought to the attention of the electorate some important issues getting them on the national agenda for discussion including income-inequality. Unfortunately for Senator Sanders he doesn’t have the record that would convince anyone he can move forward on those issues and Hillary Clinton has that record. That is why over 3 million more people have voted for her than for Sanders and when you have open primaries in states like Washington, instead of a small caucus, Hillary wins when large numbers of voters come out. I would hope Senator Sanders, after the primaries are over, will actually do what he has said he will and endorse the nominee of the Democratic Party and work to make sure we defeat Donald Trump. It is important for many reasons, not the least of them being appointments to the Supreme Court, to keep a Democrat in the WH..

  • I don’t know about a so called revolution, but I am pretty sure that if Sanders wins the California primary, he’s not going to Disneyland! The man really needs to pick his battles. You don’t fight with the people that make children smile, sports fans cheer, own the morning and evening news cycles and have created 18,000 US jobs in the last five years. That’s not bold, that’s reckless. “Living” wage maybe not, highly sought after, definitely. Most candidates grow, mature and learn during the primaries setting them on a logical path for the nomination. Sanders is still yelling at people to get off his lawn.

  • Thank you, David. I was wondering if the Blade was endorsing Clinton, or if it was Kevin Naff, as he did in 2008.

    It is interesting that HRC endorsed Hillary, while their organization gave her a 89% approval rating, to Bernie’s 100%. So that shows that their endorsement makes no logical sense either.

    Way back when, when the Blade first began publishing it was called the Washington Gay Blade. It was a time when we had few allies in the gay community. We know now that Bernie Sanders was already one of them.

    Hillary came along decades later and began pretending she was our ally, pretending to our face, while belying that pretense with the actions that she takes.

    Will the eventual nominee be a she? Since she owns the Democratic party or is owned by it, it sounds as if you may be right. But she will not get my DC vote in November if she is. I’m a long-time registered DC Statehood Green Party voter, so Jill Stein will. But Bernie will get my vote June 14.

    • In DC, voting for a fringe candidate is not really going to matter since it’s almost a certainty that the Democratic nominee will carry the District. So have at it. However, such a strategy should it be widely adopted by Sanders supporters across the country will almost certainly put Donald Trump in the Oval Office. Should the DNC have rolled over for Hillary in 2016, probably not. However they did and its now over for Sanders. It’s time he accepts reality, stops acting like a petulant child and put an end to his magical ego tour before he drives the country over a cliff in November.

      • I have been voting for the fringe candidate in the District of Columbia since 1972, the year I voted for Benjamin Spock and Julian Bond on the Citizens ticket. But occasionally I give my vote to a Democrat. That is why I would never vote for Hillary.

  • If progressives wanted real change, they’d get out and vote in the mid-terms. They’d show up and vote at every election from Senate on down to the town dogcatcher. A real leftward change in this country must start with these hyperlocal elections and bubble up from there. And they have to register as Democrats and work within the Democratic party structure.

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