I’m not old. Not that old, anyway. Like, I remember acid-wash jeans, Donna Lewis and Snackwell’s, pretty much.
So when I preface a statement with the phase, “In every election I can remember participating in…” please understand two things: that ending sentences with a preposition is completely fine now, dick, and I’m speaking with the same number of years of wisdom that it takes a Scientologist to pay $68,000 to dock penises with Xenu.
But. In all the elections I can remember participating in, the party that has come out on top was the one that had a candidate to rally around.
In 2004, it should have been a cakewalk to defeat George W. Bush, but Democrats ran John Kerry, a genuinely good man and great politician, but also the result of an experiment that resulted from replacing the blood of Frankenstein’s monster with Sleepy Time tea, for president. In 2008, Democrats came to their senses and ran Barack Obama, a historic and charismatic figure who trounced John McCain on the strength of “Dear god, Sarah Palin is a heart attack away from becoming the most powerful person on Earth.” Four years later, Republicans countered with Mitt Romney, the mayonnaise of politics, and I am out of stupid jokes.
I’ve never seen, firsthand, an election in which both major parties are so obviously fractured. And they each have reason to be. The GOP is forced to coalesce behind a bigoted, misogynistic, xenophobic, dictator-loving, white supremacist-retweeting reality TV punchline. The Democratic Party barely survived a contentious primary season that saw upstart Bernie Sanders nearly pull off the upset and overtake Hillary Clinton.
The Republicans — whatever. They can burn in the fire they lit themselves. But it’s difficult for me to bear witness to a fractured, nearly broken Democratic Party, an organization that, whatever its flaws, has consistently been the party of mainstream progress and social change in this country.
The blame doesn’t rest on any one individual, or any one faction here; we are all complicit, and I hope that this is the sentiment permeating the collective dry-heave that is the DNC right now. Hillary Clinton is complicit in her willingness to accept large donations from the major Wall Street banks; Bernie Sanders is complicit, in his continual harping on that point, to not see that there are greater stakes. Hillary Clinton is complicit in being pretty late to the game on social change (she didn’t officially endorse same-sex marriage until 2013, for example); Bernie Sanders is complicit in having all ideas and no real solutions. Hillary Clinton was complicit in not doing enough to woo progressives to her side from the get-go; Bernie Sanders is complicit in not pivoting until the eleventh hour.
This convention is happening in the aftermath of yet another Democratic Party-related email scandal, in which it was revealed — not definitely, but probably, by hackers funded by Trump property investors in Russia — that the party as a whole was at least passively trying to tilt the election in Clinton’s favor. It’s reprehensible stuff.
In one exchange, a Democratic staffer suggests accentuating Sanders’ Jewish heritage in order to swing public opinion against him, because that person believes that we’re all as terrible as they are. But there was no real evidence that any action was taken towards fixing polls, suppressing votes or any other primary related shenanigans.
I don’t agree with it, but I understand the Bernie supporters’ frustration, even rage, at what has transpired. They feel cheated, marginalized, like they don’t have a place at the table. It’s a valid feeling, a valid concern, and I don’t believe for a second that this two-party system is going to last much longer in its current iteration.
But continuing to insist that, as Gary Frazier, a Bernie Sanders supporter, did on a recent edition of NPR’s Barbershop, that “there is still a presidential race going on,” and suggesting that the convention needs to elect Bernie Sanders as their nominee, despite the fact that he came up short in both the delegate count and the popular vote, is dangerous and exhibits a severe short-sightedness as it pertains to the future of this country.