If you are one of the many Berniephiles who has been wondering – either aloud and in public, or privately to yourself – what you might do if Bernie doesn’t’ win; if you are one who has considered writing in Bernie’s name on your primary election ballot if Hillary Clinton should happen to win the Democratic presidential nomination; or if you are even considering just sitting out the general election entirely, should Hillary be running against the Republican nominee instead of Bernie, then I have a word for you:
Stop. Please just stop.
Pause for a few moments to consider the utter absurdity of the situation: Here we are, more than a month before the first head counts will be conducted in the Iowa Caucus…already gaming out our possible moves for a Plan B…when we haven’t yet even implemented Plan A – not by a long shot.
Folks, I mean this in the most kindly, constructive way, when I tell you that we simply can’t afford to take our eyes off the ball in this manner. We are very much on the way to forming an historic movement that will win the Democratic nomination for Bernie, will elect Bernie Sanders as president, will sweep away much of the corruption and political sabotage that afflicts America, and will ultimately transform this country. Every ounce of energy devoted to speculation about ‘what happens if it doesn’t work out’, every moment of attention devoted to considering the alternatives ‘if Bernie doesn’t win’ not only distracts focus from our all-important mission, it actively undermines our efforts to achieve that mission at all!
From every direction, we are besieged with messages of doubt and despair – by a corporate news media driving the obsessive drumbeat of “Bernie can’t win”; by a corrupt Democratic Party Establishment that is throwing every roadblock into our path that it can; by a Clinton campaign that is, once again, pulling out all the stops to persuade us of Hillary’s “inevitability”, we are being encouraged to “wake up”, give up, let it go, and “face reality”. Why exactly is this the case? Why are each of these centers of Establishment power so eager to convince us that we can’t win? You know the answer: It’s because they know we CAN win. They know that if we are united and if we are determined, then we WILL win. And they know that the only hope they have of beating us…is to convince us to beat ourselves!
Progressives “of a certain generation” have literally lived through decades of disappointment and disillusionment – from the Camelot era of JFK that came to an abrupt and tragic end, to the promise of progressive reform that died that June night in Los Angeles with RFK, to Nixon’s election in 1968, Nixon’s landslide reelection in 1972, and many, many occasions ever since. Understandably, a certain fatalism and cynicism has taken deep root among some of us – a fatalism and cynicism that the Establishment has long nurtured and cultivated, and often used against us, with devastating consequences. That attitude must change, and it must change now. With respect to this needed mental discipline, our comrades among Bernie’s Millennial supporters can be most helpful. Those of us who have become discouraged and jaded can renew our spirits with their optimism and their energy.
My friends: Winning doesn’t come about by, in essence, saying to ourselves, ‘Well, I’ll try...but if it doesn’t work out, at least I’ll have other options.’ Winning doesn’t come to pass by working for the win, yet preparing for defeat, ‘just in case’. Because such timid, insecure approaches carry within them the seeds of their own defeat. They actually promote defeat.
Victory comes when we program ourselves for victory – and that means willing victory into existence, by any means necessary, no matter what it takes. Victory requires complete commitment and absolute determination. Victory leaves no room for doubt, no room for fear, no time or energy for laying alternate plans. Period.
If we actually, truly, genuinely want to bring to pass the political revolution for which Bernie Sanders has called, then we have it within our power to do so: No more wasted time or wasted energy preparing for contingencies that need never arise. Ultimately it starts, and ends, with the will that is within us – within our own hearts, and within our own minds. That is the actual battleground on which the fight for our political revolution must, and will, be won.