I was subtle and polite, but some of you are too damned lazy to read fifteen hundred words of well-reasoned prose. Here’s the pre-chewed version. Read it and weep.
Eight candidates. One clear leader – Sanders – but The Party doesn’t like him. No single candidate with a decent chance to take him down in the primary.
And so they present you with the illusion of choice: Seven good people… or, rather, six good people and the Obvious Wrong Answer, because what’s a multiple choice without that? Seven people you can choose between that aren’t the clear leader. Seven ways to dilute your vote.
Let me be plain: I don’t want Bernie Sanders to be president. I don’t think he’s crazy; I think he’s brilliant, dogged, incorruptible, and wants to do the right thing. But sudden changes are dangerous; with economies, it’s gradual or it’s chaos.
But that’s not my decision. That’s our decision, collectively, as a country. And I saw with my own eyes in New Hampshire just how America is making that decision: Standing room only crowds with massive lines in the parking lots. Tens of thousands of spontaneous volunteers. A grassroots warchest bigger than every minor candidate combined (not counting the billionaires). About twenty percent of America has made their choice, and it’s Bernie.
So who am I to stand in the way? The die is cast; the time has come for the rest of the field to gracefully clear out and make room. In November we’ll have the giant slug-fest between two populists, one a fearmongering demagogue and the other an honest-to-God socialist, and may the least-worst win, right? That’s the way it’s done.
Except the rest of the field isn’t being graceful. They’re going to stick it out until Super Tuesday.
Each has their reasons; some are good. Steyer could actually take South Carolina before then, which would make him a serious force to be reckoned with. Pete’s got a highly organized, professional campaign. Tulsi’s just plain mule-headed, but God bless her she’s got a right to be. And so on.
But Warren and Klobuchar, two darlings of The Party, are both struggling. They’re splitting the Pantsuit Nation bloc between them (“It’s time for a woman president!”, and I don’t disagree), but neither will back down. Except there’s a good chance they’ll both have to; Warren’s strategy is Super Tuesday but she has no money, and Klobuchar has no volunteers, which is a real pity but that’s the way it goes. They’re on life support, just not dead — yet.
But rather than putting them out of their misery, a mystery group appears — from out of nowhere: a cloud of dust, the pound of hooves, and a hearty “Hi-yo, Silver!” Thirty pieces of silver, as it happens, or a million ten. That’s the number of dollars each massive SuperPAC is suddenly committing to support their campaigns, and that’s just for starters.
And why? Because The Party realizes no one of these Seven Dwarves, no matter how qualified, can be counted on to keep Bernie from winning the nomination. Instead, they’re aiming at a contested convention in July and a brokered candidate, and they’re counting on Sanders to back the Orthodox Party Choice like he did last time.
But Sanders doesn’t command his army. They’re with him, but they don’t follow orders. These are the young, the disenfranchised. The stalwarts of Occupy and the survivors of the Pipeline Protest. The New Scum. Freak Power is reborn, just as it is every generation. They aren’t here to think or strategize or be tactical; they want things fixed, dammit! And they’ll make it happen one way or the other — or go home and just not vote because we betrayed them again. Tough to blame them.
And that’s if we’re lucky. If we’re not — and I expect not, because why the f%$ would we start being lucky now?! — we’re going to have mass riots after the Convention. Milwaukee will burn and blood will flow, and it will spread.
There will be no Unity Candidate. Hillary Clinton will not step in to save us; oh no. There will be a split party and, once the fires go out, Four More Years Of Trump.
Michael Bloomberg and your billions; ladies and gentlemen behind the Oh So Secret Dark Money Super PAC: Congratulations. You’ve just formed the Committee to Re-Elect the President.
F#$% you very much.
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Header image is Greenberg’s, not mine. I don’t speak for him, and if he asks I’ll take it down. Hopefully, instead he’ll profit from redirected clicks and we’ll both get fabulously wealthy from me using his work.