And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts ...
-- William Shakespeare
Buyers' remorse is the fairly common emotion after a change-of-heart about a purchase; sellers' remorse, usually felt in the pit of one's stomach as a loss, is a whole different animal.
The outpouring of interviews, acknowledgements, credit-giving and even praise shown Bernie Sanders now that he has suspended his campaign borders a bit on sellers' remorse. Maybe this is what it took to show this very decent human any respect, an ingredient totally missing toward him from the Democratic Party establishment in the last two presidential races.
It has been no secret that party loyalists would do almost anything to not have Sanders become their nominee. They kept their super-delegate cards dry in their back pockets in case needed for a convention intervention. He was so much of a threat that one party leader felt he warranted a grade-schooler's insecure sneer, "Nobody likes him." Obviously she had never attended any of his many rallies where oftentimes upwards of 20,000 people actually liked him quite a lot.
Mainstream pundits rarely offered for public scrutiny the deeper reasons why Sanders was never welcomed into the party tent. My guess is they were not eager to lift the rock under which both the Republican and Democratic parties hide their similarities during a time when it's differences that both are selling. To anyone paying half an ounce of attention, it is pretty obvious Sanders' platform of "taking on" (his favorite phrase) Big Pharma, Big Banks, Big Insurance, Big Oil, etc., and promoting the Green New Deal to protect our environment scared the pants off those in both parties clutching their corporate money bags to their chests. Their reaction was truly a real-life version of an elephant fearing a mouse.
Money is the great equalizer running through both political parties. It's their common, shared language. The conundrum for the Democrats seems to be how to have their cake (the facade of being about working stiffs and minorities) and eat it too (not jeopardizing what corporate money buys them).
Sanders messed with that balancing act and plainly said out loud that he was for democratic socialism for people, not the corporate socialism for business and industry that we have now. Of course, muttering "socialism," democratic or otherwise, in any context is just asking for trouble, and if Sanders made one continual mistake, it was in using the phrase as if people would bother to learn what it means. Knee jerking is so much easier than analysis, and in our sound-bite world, it's not wise to expect voters to exercise when consuming opinion from TV is so confortable on the couch. His hair-on-fire opponents acted as if Sanders was going to take stuff away from them instead of hearing his messages (of the last 50 years) about decent wages, affordable medicine, free health care, free college education and a safe, clean environment. Oh, the horror!
His miracle accomplishment in his two campaigns, aside from branding "Medicare For All" into the lexicon of politics so deeply it won't easily be erased, was proving that we as a society actually can take money's power out of politics. Yes, he raised millions, but from millions of individual donors giving less than $20 each. He refused PAC and corporate money and consequently had few strings attached to him strong enough to be yanked by those who control candidates. Political parties like their puppets to have strings. Ironically, Trump has reversed that on the Republicans, since he's the one making them dance.
Bloomberg burned millions and didn't save the Democrats from Bernie, so when Biden finally showed a flicker of life and started winning primaries, the party began to breathe again. And then along came coronavirus. Too late to increase his delegate count, Bernie suspended his campaign so he could continue pushing his issues, even if not as the nominee. Now, with almost Shakespearean irony and timing, free medical testing and health coverage for all no longer seems such a radical platform. And in time, pandemics' relationships to environmental factors will bear out the tenets of the Green New Deal.
The test of the ages now will be if Biden, surely the most delicate teacup that the Democrats could possibly have picked, will survive the trumpeting bull as he again crashes through the China shop that holds what's left of our democracy.
Commentary on 04/14/2020
Print Headline: The unwelcome guest