Little Rock Depending on how you look at it, one of the assets – or liabilities – of being an organizer for over fifty years, is that in the immortal words of the old country and western song, you know “when to hold ‘em, and when to fold ‘em.” The clock is running out on Senator Bernie Sanders to fold ‘em with grace and make the best deal for his base and on our issues. Much longer, and he will have held his cards too long, and they will have no value whatsoever.
After the “big” Tuesday primary where he lost pretty much two-to-one across the demographics in Arizona, despite claims of huge Latino support, and in the multinational mix of Florida, and the urban-rural combine in Illinois. He’s down almost 300 delegates at this point. There’s virtually no mathematical probability that he might somehow win in the remaining primaries. He’s not just toast, He’s burnt.
Before the Arizona debates, he seemed to be talking directly to reality and moving towards an accommodation on the issues that might move his hardcore base into the column for former Vice-President Joe Biden in the election against Trump. In the actual debate, he seemed to have lost a bit of a grip on where he stood in the overall race as opposed to the moment in the desert sun.
A friend, colleague, and longtime San Francisco-based organizer and Sanders-supporter, Mike Miller, shared with me correspondence he had with the campaign after their defeats in Super Tuesday where he had been a volunteer. Saying, “continued exposure of how bad Biden’s record is on economic (and other) justice issues will only undermine our ability to defeat Trump in November,” he called on Sanders to make a deal and offered these points for the negotiation among others:
now is the best time for Bernie Sanders to negotiate with Joe Biden for such things as:
- (a) Cabinet positions in a Biden administration,
- (b) legislation that he will submit to Congress or support,
- (c) executive orders he will issue upon his installation as President,
- (d) positioning of the Sanders organization in states that are crucial for the electoral college AND where there are House or Senate progressive candidates running for whom Sanders volunteers would be pleased to work,
- (e) DNC reforms
Another longtime organizing colleague, Larry Cohen, formerly president of the Communications Workers of America and head of Our Revolution, the Sanders 2016 campaign spinoff, offered in the Times the other day a comment essentially saying that Sanders listens to a different drum, is committed to his path, and it would be hard to predict his decision going forward. Larry knows the real deal, and he’s been to the rodeo enough to know it’s over and the time for a deal is diminishing by the hour.
To have any chance of negotiating with any leverage on progressive issues now is the time in the midst of the crisis to argue for unity publicly and make a deal privately on the best terms still available.
Before it’s too late and no one picks up the phone.