Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Politics as Usual -- Not

The American Political System is highly dysfunctional. Politics as usual will only bring more of the same. Robert Reich: "[Hillary Clinton is] the most qualified candidate for president of the political system we now have, but Bernie Sanders is the most qualified candidate to create the political system we should have, because he's leading a political movement for change." Can Bernie possibly win in this system we now have? Many think not, yet his opponents are becoming increasingly nervous and his supporters steadily more confident. Will we know more by this evening? We shall see.

FiveThirtyEight predicts that Bernie Sanders will lose in Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, and likely Missouri. If correct, they will claim "politics as usual" and argue that the Democratic nominee can now be predicted with some certainty (and it's not Bernie). If their predictions happen to be wrong, on the other hand, they will wring their hands over the "greatest polling errors in history" (except for the time before in Michigan). Either way, we would argue that they are missing the point, which is that this campaign is not about politics as usual. Not by a long shot.

The success of the Bernie Sanders candidacy and the movement he has spawned is largely a result of the Internet.

Community

Bernie Sanders has said, often and in many ways, "This campaign is not about me—it's about all of us. No president can accomplish what has to be done unless millions of people come together." Call it a movement, as he has, or a political revolution, this assemblage of tens, even hundreds of thousands online has become a true community, in fact one of the most cohesive, supportive, vibrant, amazing online communities I have ever witnessed. (And I've been involved in more than a few over three decades, starting with The WELL.)

These are but a few of the many social media pages devoted to the Bernie for president community. and as you may guess there are trolls, disagreements, and arguments. Let me state again, however, that these are among the most knowledgeable, engaged, friendly, supportive, compassionate, helpful, loving people I've had the pleasure of interacting with online. This community counts for a lot, a whole lot.

Campaign

Media

"The revolution will not be televised. ... The revolution will be live." ~Gil Scott-Heron. This slogan is often used both to lament and challenge the fact that Bernie's campaign has been largely ignored by the mainstream media. This has not stopped the message from getting out, however, because there are so many online resources. Here are just a few examples out of dozens, maybe hundreds, more.

Finance

And of course one of the biggest differences in this political campaign is how it is being financed, which is almost entirely by small online donations.


Image credit Kyle O'Leary

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