I am not proposing that we should give up on winning the nomination – there is still a path. What I am saying is that it’s time to start building a grassroots agenda that won’t depend on winning the nomination. We may not have enough delegates to win the nomination, but there will be enough delegates to change the Democratic Party for future elections. Here are just some examples.
When I worked for Bill Bradley in 2000, we were dismayed at the makeup of the platform committee. It was full of corporate execs. We sent a delegation to a platform committee that included Tom Hayden, Gloria Allred, and Lila Garrett. They were completely shut out, with none of their platform planks even earning a vote by the committee. It is probably too late to influence the makeup of this year’s committee, but we should demand that the 2020 platform committee have no seats allowed to corporations. If we play our cards correctly, I think there will be labor delegates in the Clinton camp that would welcome this move. It is time to return the party to working people and progressive organizations, many of whom are in the Clinton camp and could work with us on this.
Money in Politics
As we are seeing with the Sanders campaign, it is not surrender to refuse to participate in the current campaign finance system. This will be a little tougher to implement, but we could prohibit the party from forming super PACs and go into 2020 with a Democratic Party that raises its money like Bernie did. Get ready for a big fight here. Of course the platform should call for overturning Citizens United and implementing public financing, but it usually does call for those things, while practices never change.
Get rid of the front-loaded red state nominating process. If the calendar were reversed, we might be talking about how hard it will be for Hillary Clinton to catch Bernie Sanders. How about a National Primary Day on June 7th, when everyone’s vote will count the same. I spent the year in Iowa, and I see the strengths of retail politics in the current early state process. However, especially in the caucus system, there is too much room for establishment rigging of the process. Let’s get back to one person, one vote, and let all voters choose the nominee. I have heard all the arguments for the little guy not being able to compete in a national primary, and I think it is nonsense. Bernie had the largest rallies from day one of his campaign and raised the most money. If you have the best message, you can compete. “One Person, One VOTE!” should be a chant ringing through the convention hall in Philadelphia. Letting Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and a bunch of southern states provide the momentum needed to win the nomination needs to end.
I would also love to see Bernie’s delegates fight for an opening up of our election process to lift the restrictions on third parties. Heck, with what’s happening on the Republican side, they might be willing to make it easier to form a third, fourth, or even more parties. It is ridiculous to think that two people could represent the views of the whole country.
These are just a few things that come to mind. I started out structurally since everything else depends on unrigging the process. Keep fighting for every delegate. The job at hand would be easier with Bernie at the helm. Let’s just not put all of our hope in Bernie. He brought us together – it’s time for us to join the fight too.