The great debate at the moment, among Berniecrats (which is the main debate I pay attention to, this is the echo chamber I have chosen, which makes sense because there are no people I trust more than people who agree with me) is should Bernie run again as a Democrat or should he go third party.
Of course, Bernie might decide not to run again, to throw his weight behind a younger, rising star. (yes, of course I’m talking about Tulsi Gabbard – who else?) Nonetheless, the issue would still remain. To try to reform the Democratic party from within, as women try to reform their abusive, alcoholic boyfriends, or to go for the gusto and run 3rd party.
I see an argument for both sides. On the one side, the Democrats have made it abundantly clear that they would rather eat broken glass than revert to being the progressive party they once were. On the other, Bernie has some (i.e. a great deal) of experience at running 3rd party – and losing. His career only took off when he ditched the socialist label and ran for mayor of Burlington as an independent.
Here’s what I think he should do: set some conditions.
1. a million party members, pledged or actually registered by June 1st. That part should be a piece of cake. Put the word out on the internet and they’re there.
2. a party platform, including green jobs (my personal favorite), money out of politics, tax reform (make the rich fuckers pay their share), free college, medicare for all, and maybe marijuana legalization (another of my personal favorites) and abortion rights, (I consider that an issue of far less importance than it is afforded in public discourse, but I know a lot of women consider it a litmus test). This would be the easiest of all to accomplish, since it’s basically his standard speech.
3. A name. This could be put up to a poll of party members. Or Bernie could decide, because a popular vote might result in something like ‘Party McPartyface.’
4. This one is key, and might be the hardest. Congressional candidates in all 435 districts, in time for the 2018 elections. I’d set a deadline of, say, January 1st, 2018. Maybe a bit later, since it’s not a presidential election year.
That’s about it. Achievable, and once achieved, it would put a viable – key word, viable – new party in place. The Democratic party would wither on the vine, with their membership either defecting to the Republicans or to the new party.
Even if it was a 50/50 split (and I don’t think it would be) the new party would be in a good position, because Bernie’s policies are good policies, and will appeal to independents.