How Clintonites Are Manufacturing Faux Progressive Congressional Campaigns
April 27, 2018
When Bernie Sanders took the stage in Washington Square Park in New York City on a cold April night in 2016, he faced a crowd of approximately 25,000 adoring fans, many of whom were young, progressive, and desperately seeking a political alternative to the seemingly ineluctable game of Russian roulette that was a Clinton-Trump crapshoot.
They waited for hours, listened to progressive celebrities like Spike Lee and Tim Robbins give rousing speeches, and were finally rewarded when the self-proclaimed democratic socialist from Vermont approached the podium with his characteristic lack of flair and precisely crafted economic populist stump speech which he had delivered a thousand times.
And yet, the energy coursing through the crowd told the story. They didn’t care they’d heard it all many times before, that Sanders was reading from the same cue cards as he had a hundred times in the weeks and months prior; they just wanted a glimpse of the man who, even if he wasn’t going to be president, had ignited a political revolution on the progressive left.
That night, Sanders’ voice carried to the 50,000 ears in the park, and the millions of eyeballs watching on the live feed and reading in the paper the next morning,
And when Sanders spoke, his words were like sustenance to young progressives who came of age in a time of political hopelessness, despite President Hope and Change sitting in the Oval Office. In The Bern, they saw a Moses-like figure, carrying the words of the true progressive gods to smite those worshiping the golden calf of Wall Street and the Democratic Party elite.
But that night Sanders said something that wasn’t part of his usual sermon about income inequality, free trade, and working people. In what was something of a departure, Sanders placed into context what the movement he ignited was seeking.
“It is not just about electing a president, it is about creating a political revolution. It is about creating a government which works for all of us, not just wealthy campaign contributors,” Sanders explained, his voice carrying through the night like so many angry taxi horns.
Of course, we all know what happened next: Sanders lost the Democratic Party nomination to Hillary Clinton under rather dubious circumstances, and spent the next few months gritting his teeth as Clinton blundered her way into losing a slam dunk election against the political equivalent of an old can of orange play-doh.
But, precisely as Sanders had bellowed that night in Greenwich Village, the campaign was only the beginning. In the time since then, the progressive left has seen an upsurge in candidates seeking to unseat establishment Democrats in districts throughout the country. Democratic incumbents from Texas and Illinois to New York and California now suddenly find themselves facing challenges from their left, forcing them to try to save their jobs by adopting progressive talking points.
While this upsurge could be seen as a welcome development for anyone interested in progressive causes, there is a dark side to the burgeoning left movement, one that remains mostly shrouded behind a veil of secrecy and omission.
For it seems that progressive candidates aren’t the only ones who learned the lesson of Bernie Sanders in 2016; the neoliberal Clintonites have too. So, while left-wing campaigns crop up in every corner of the country, so too