Opinion: Sanders lost, get over it


Andrew Dyer

Sanders supporters swelter waiting for the then-candidate to speak at a May rally in National City, California.

by Andrew Dyer, Opinion Editor

“Lock her up! Lock her up!”

This anti-Clinton refrain was all the rage at the Republican National Convention in late July. No surprise. Republican nominee Donald Trump has reveled in dragging his party into the political gutter. The GOP trotted-out one unhinged crackpot after another to sing his praises. From conspiracy theorists to brain-dead brain surgeons, the convention was an unending parade of D-list celebrities and third-rate politicos. Their dystopian vision of the U.S., while horrific, was also to be expected. Trump long ago kicked over the port-a-john of political discourse and his sycophants and supporters have been romping happily in the detritus since.

Not so expected was the behavior of delegates and supporters of failed Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention the following week.

Before the convention began, during a march the Wall Street Journal called a “pro-Sanders rally,” protesters marched through downtown Philadelphia also chanting “lock her up.” The Bernie or bust faction looked less like a “political revolution” and more like an amalgamation of disparate political toddlers kicking and screaming, unwilling to turn in at bedtime.

Tantrums continued inside the convention. Sanders delegates heckled Massachusetts senator and progressive darling Elizabeth Warren. They walked out of Clinton’s acceptance speech. They even booed Bernie when he called for them to support Clinton and later walked out in protest, chanting, “This is what democracy looks like!”
No. That is what sour grapes look like. Democracy looks like the person with the most votes winning.

There was reason to be upset. Leaked Democratic National Committee emails showed a handful of staffers strategized ways to attack Sanders based on his religion, or lack thereof. There was also strategic advice from a Clinton lawyer on how to respond to his charges against the DNC. These leaks confirmed much of what Sanders and his supporters had long asserted, that the DNC was colluding with the Clinton campaign. Clinton is a life-long Democrat. Sanders joined the party only to run for president. Party politics is an insider’s game, but their dirty laundry is not normally hoisted up a flagpole the day before the convention.

As ugly as the Democratic party’s inner-workings may be, they are not near as ugly as the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency. Factor in allegations that a Russian hack lead to the DNC leaks and they were released in an attempt to sway the election towards Trump and it becomes ever more urgent that Bernie Sanders die-hards not become evangelical in their devotion to ideological purity. A similar rift in the DNC, between Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy, helped usher in the Reagan era of social austerity and military build-up. Another split in 2000 between Al Gore and Green Party nominee Ralph Nader led to eight years of Bush that included two disastrous wars, the destabilization of an entire region and the expanded threat of terrorism in the west.

A less-pure progressive is a better option than what the GOP has offered — a bloviating bully who enjoys robust support from white nationalists and vows to run the country like a tyrant.

The issues at the core of Sanders’ revolution ­— economic equality and racial justice — are worthy and vital priorities. With the specter of a Trump presidency it does not matter which Democrat sits in the Oval Office signing those reforms into law. It is time for Bernie’s camp to take a cue from the Rolling Stones tune Trump is so fond of playing at his rallies. You can’t always get what you want.