lmost a year ago I wrote an article called “We Can Take the Democratic Party Back.”
The comment section was full of skepticism. Eleven months later, we are closer to that reality than anytime in the last 30 years. We are not there yet and we have a long way to go. There is, however, a path in front of us and a leader showing us the way to victory.
Imagine Debbie Wasserman Schultz putting together a platform committee that will meet the approval of the nominee of the Democratic Party, whose name is Bernie Sanders. Imagine a platform that is approved by a convention with a majority of delegates supporting Bernie Sanders.
It can happen if we all roll up our sleeves and work to get Bernie Sanders elected. I have been in Iowa for nine months now, and everywhere I go I see signs that Bernie is going to win. I see Bernie buttons on cashiers in checkout lines, and anytime I have Bernie gear on people compliment it.
When I cover various political events, a lot of the crowd is usually undecided or checking out the candidate. Not at Bernie events, where the crowds are excited and committed to the Bern.
I can make no promises here, we have a long way to go, but there is a better chance for us to take control of the Democratic Party than there is to make a third party viable in our lifetime. Yes, we could lose it back to the corporatists as fast as we gain control, but the reward is worth the risk.
It is always an uphill battle to unseat entrenched power, but we have not had a better chance to wrest power from the corporate Democrats than we have today. The various grassroots efforts that are backing Bernie can have a long-term effect if we focus some energy on taking back the party.
We should be packing Bernie’s delegate slates with progressives who are tired of the corporate influence in the party. We need to stop complaining about Debbie Wasserman Schultz and position ourselves to choose the next DNC chair.
The organizations are forming already – Grassroots for Bernie, People for Bernie, Bernie 2016 TV … If we band together with groups like Progressive Democrats of America and Democrats for America with the focus on taking back the Democratic Party, we could ride a Bernie Sanders victory to a takeover of the party that groups like the Democratic Leadership Council stole from us decades ago.
As Bernie says at every rally, Think Big! It is time to take down the machine.
I can hear many of you saying the system is rigged, we can’t beat them. They count on us believing that. They count on us surrendering power to them. Of course they have rigged the system in their favor, but part of what they count on is us staying on the sidelines and accepting whatever crumbs they throw our way.
It’s a machine we are up against, but again as Bernie says in every speech, if we stand together there is nothing we can’t accomplish. We may fail, but we guarantee failure if we don’t try. I understand people’s skepticism, the system has beat back every other attempt. Maybe this time it is different. Some of you are saying, we believed Obama and look where that got us. Barack Obama did NOT run against the establishment. Barack Obama turned his grassroots organization over to the DNC the day he got elected. Bernie won’t do that. His campaign is a movement whose role continues the day after he is sworn in.
What do we need to do? Join the political revolution and get involved in the local party organizations. I remember when I was in Miami, the local party there was in gridlock because they couldn’t get a quorum to meetings. If a bunch of progressives had joined and gotten active they could have taken over the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.
Volunteer on the campaign, run for delegate, volunteer in the various grassroots groups popping up to support the revolution. Run for office.
In the words of Frederick Douglass, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” And remember, Victor Hugo was right: “All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”
So we can continue to complain or we can stand up and fight. Our time has come, if we seize it.