Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Sane Progressive Wants a Revolution Because She Knows We Need One

Debbie Lusignan, host of YouTube's The Sane Progressive, released a segment earlier today in which she took TYT's Cenk Uygur to task for "kicking the can [of revolution] down the road [of history]."

She was responding directly to Uygur's #TeamRevolution campaign, which he kicked off yesterday with a video in which he explained that "election days come and go"--and that when they don't go our way, we have to keep looking forward and thinking about what we can achieve in the future.

According to Uygur, it's unsurprising for people to claim that the election of 2016 is the most important of our lifetime--since we hear similar claims about every election.

But according to Lusignan, the claim is actually correct this time because we are on the brink of irrevocably compromising the habitability of our planet.

Although I share Lusignan's alarm about what we're doing to the planet, I think she actually understates the importance of the 2016 election because of what a Trump or Clinton presidency is likely to do to net neutrality and our ability to tell each other what we're thinking (instead of letting mainstream media tell us what everyone else is supposedly thinking).

Part of Sanders' success is attributable to widespread environmental concerns, but an even more important part of it is the fact that despite a mainstream media blackout on Sanders, he continues to attract throngs of supporters throughout the country and around the world. The role of alternative media in fueling the Sanders revolution cannot be overstated.

That's why it frightens me to hear the sense of resignation in Uygur's plea. It's one thing to say "Let's get 'em next time" at the end of a soccer tournament that we lost fair and square, but another thing to say it as we watch footage of the winning team cheating its way to victory, destroying every soccer field on the planet, and proactively working to prevent rival squads from communicating with each other about how they can get together for practice in the future.

Uygur's lack of urgency is alarming, just as it's alarming to hear so-called progressives saying that Sanders' agenda will inevitably become the future of the Democratic Party simply because it appeals to voters under 30.

In 2016, the Sanders agenda never reached the people who rely on mainstream media for information. And in 2024, a similar agenda will never reach the people who rely on an establishment-mediated internet.

But even though I share Lusignan's sense of urgency, I'm still willing to give Sanders and his team the benefit of the doubt--at least until the convention in Philadelphia.

Sanders may not be as thoroughgoing a revolutionary as Lusignan likes, but he has proven himself to be a canny and adept politician. It's reasonable to wonder why he hasn't made more of a stink about election fraud in the Democratic primaries, but it's also reasonable to consider the possibility that he is managing that narrative to his own advantage and--more importantly--to the advantage of his cause.

Winning elections means getting more people on your side than the other candidates have on theirs, and Sanders has shown a keen understanding of crowd psychology throughout the primary process. Sure, there are plenty of people like Lusignan and myself who are ready to follow him right now in a full and open assault on our deeply corrupt establishment.

But there are other people who haven't woken up yet. They would do the right thing if they knew what it was, but they haven't paid enough attention to suspect that this election is any different than the other pantomimes of democracy we go through every four years.

Sanders would have alienated those folks if he had started whining about election fraud earlier in the primaries.

Perhaps even more importantly, he would have put the Clinton campaign on guard.

By pretending not to notice what was happening, he encouraged the Clinton camp to become ever more brazen in its efforts to rig the election. What started as a deeply suspicious series of six consecutive coin tosses going Clinton's way in Iowa has since turned into rampant voter suppression in Puerto Rico and statewide fraud in California.

The evidence is certainly overwhelming enough for Sanders to present an ultimatum to the Democratic Party in Philadelphia. They can either award him the nomination that he rightly won, or he will justifiably break his pledge not to run as an independent.

Then, instead of the narrative being, "That Sanders guy is always whining about cheating," it will be, "That Sanders guy showed video evidence of cheating in almost every state. I don't blame him for turning his back on a party that screwed him over."

Maybe Lusignan is right to be distressed about Sanders' low-key speeches since the California primary. If Sanders does behave as she fears by falling in line behind Clinton, then I will be right beside Lusignan championing Jill Stein.

And I won't be hoping to get Jill Stein over the arbitrary thresholds necessary for the Greens to receive federal assistance or an invitation to the debates; I'll be fighting tooth and nail to win her the presidency because the 2016 election--even with all its irregularities and disenfranchisement--might really be the last time voters have any influence at all on an electoral outcome.

But until Sanders actually concedes and offers his support to Clinton, I'm going to trust his judgment in guiding the revolution more than Lusignan's or my own.

I think he's got some aces up his sleeve.

He's not just good at policies; he's not just good at principles; he's not just good at integrity. He's really good at politics.


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