After devoting eight years of nearly daily campaigning for Bernie Sanders’s presidential bids and being there in late 2015 when he explored a run, personally encouraging him to run at the LA Musicians Union Hall, I have two central conclusions as to why Bernie Sanders was defeated. They may piss you off. That’s of course not my intention.
I have two premises.
1. Bernie never wanted to be President. Not really. His hero was MLK more so than LBJ. He wanted to push American politics to the left to help the poor/working-class & start a political revolution to attack the greedy rich people as he repeatedly recounted memories of made the lives of his own parents very difficult living in a rent-controlled apartment & others like them. He came alive on stage to tens of thousands of people chanting Bernie! Bernie! or in a union hall to hundreds doing the same.
So ultimately and perhaps subconsciously he sabotaged his own campaign by very publically threatening the wealth of the most powerful and dangerous people & organizations in the country & the world including Wall Street banks, big pharma, health insurance corporations the very dangerous US military with its defense contractor industries & every other rich industrialist causing them to conspire using all levers of power like neoliberal centrist friend of Wall St. Barrack Obama & Jeff Zucker’s NBC & later CNN, the DNC with corporate centrists like Rep. Clyburn & others to crush Bernie’s campaigns.
2. Sun Tzu in The Art of War wrote that a wise general doesn’t attack an enemy into their strength especially as a weaker force, you use guile and deception and strike them where they are weakest.
Donald Trump came out at the RNC Convention and stole Bernie & Elizabeth Warren’s lines about a rigged system and the forgotten working American things he could care less about, he used guile and deception to triangulate (an old Clinton strategy), and was greeted as, of all crazy laughable things, “the workingman’s billionaire”.
Meanwhile, Bernie gave the same speech over and over again threatening to “be the worst nightmare of the oligarchs”. When FDR said I welcome the hate of rich and powerful, he had a huge Democratic majority to work with and a large social movement on the outside backing him. The majority of the Democratic Congress on the other hand are funded by Wall Street and other wealthy donor money because that’s how one gets elected today.
Bernie could have run a campaign based on his message of love, compassion, and restoring the working-class raising wages & rebuilding schools and American industry without threatening the most dangerous powerful forces on Earth, without making him and our movement a target, and roused people on the left and right to join him and us and win in a landslide. A landslide.
But he is and was a man set in his ways and full of anger and resentment at the rich greedy elites.
He didn’t listen to David Serota and other close advisors who advised him to pivot to a message of inspiring hope and love and as a result, all the forces of greed teamed up together and crushed him and us. COVID finished it off.