The decision by Bernie Sanders to endorse the corporate approved Hillary Clinton may have backfired, with many of his supporters now shifting their allegiance to the Green Party's Jill Stein. It is a clear rejection of 'lesser evil' politics.
BERNIE SANDERS DECISION to get in behind Hillary Clinton's presidential bid was widely expected but still hugely deflationary for a great many of his supporters. The 'political revolution' was not supposed to end with Sanders embracing the woman who he has, among other things, described as being in the pocket of Wall Street. In the view of many, Sanders didn't exactly make a pact with the devil but he came close to it. It was largely unreported in the mainstream media that a large section of Sanders supporters walked out of the campaign rally where he endorsed Clinton.
Sanders will argue that he has shifted the Democratic Party to the left - but he has delivered a mixed bag. Yes, he's gained concessions on some issues but he has also been blocked on other issues by the Clinton camp. And such is the mistrust of Clinton, much of the Sanders movement is sceptical she will follow through with her commitments. Once she is safely ensconced in the White House, the delays and obfuscations will begin. As one commentator has observed "Hillary Clinton has the propensity to flip-flop on important issues."
Ultimately Sanders argues that the threat of a Trump presidency must be repelled by a Democratic Party 'united' behind Hillary Clinton. Once again the ghoul of 'Lesser Evil' politics returns to haunt the left. But the fear of a Trump presidency is not a valid reason to vote for a woman who supported the war in Iraq and actively campaigned for her husband's welfare reforms which drove many working class Americans into poverty.
But another presidential candidate, the Green's Jill Stein, remains strenuously opposed to lesser evil politics. In a last effort to convince Sanders not to make a deal with Clinton, she offered to step aside as the Green party's presidential candidate and let Sanders lead the fight. He did not respond to her offer.
"It sounds like the only good thing Bernie can say about Hillary is that she's not Donald. That's what most of her supporters like about her." Stein told the media this week.
In a statement released a day after Sanders endorsed Clinton, Stein says:
"I join millions of Americans who see Hillary Clinton's campaign as the opposite of what they and Bernie Sanders have fought for. Despite her penchant for flip flopping rhetoric, Hillary Clinton has spent decades consistently serving the causes of Wall Street, war and the Walmart economy.
The policies she fought for - along with her husband and political partner, Bill Clinton - have been foundations of the economic disaster most Americans are still struggling with: the abuses of deregulated Wall Street, rigged corporate trade agreements, racist mass incarceration, and the destruction of the social safety net for poor women and children. The consistent efforts of the Democratic Party to minimize, sideline, and sabotage the Sanders campaign are a wake up call that we can't have a revolutionary campaign inside a counter-revolutionary party.
Sadly, Sanders is one of a long line of true reformers that have been undermined by the Democratic Party. The eventual suppression of the Sanders campaign was virtually guaranteed from the beginning with super-delegates and super Tuesdays, that were created after George McGovern's nomination to prevent grassroots campaigns from winning the nomination again."
Jill Stein is right: Americans are sick of being told to vote for the 'lesser of two evils'. The polls consistently show that Hillary Clinton is deeply unpopular with the American people. For Bernie Sanders to expect his supporters to swallow this particular dead rat could well have backfired. Many of his supporters are reportedly turning to Jill Stein to carry on the 'political revolution' started by Sanders. Stein says that donations to her campaign have increased ten fold since Sanders endorsed Clinton.
According to the US Uncut website:
"Sanders supporters seem to be preparing a mass exodus from the Democratic Party to help Stein reach her goal of 15 percent in national polls, which would secure a spot for her on the general election debate stage with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the presumptive nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties. Many influential Sanders supporters and pro-Sanders accounts with tens or hundreds of thousands of followers have already announced their intent to vote for Stein in November.'