Now is the moment to unite the progressive vote to assure a win for progressive policies. The establishment’s hopes to overrule the voter results and instate a corporate candidate at a second-round brokered DNC convention makes clear that Super Tuesday is an all-progressives-hands-on-deck for this country.
If the voters fail to lock down the necessary votes when that is still possible, it will lead to a brokered convention—likely pitting Joe Biden against Bernie Sanders.
It’s also likely that Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropped out to help the corporatists get the numbers they need.
But if you talk to supporters of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as I’ve done over the last month, you learn that they don’t like to speak of the numbers.
Instead many have said that they believe that a primary is the time to vote one’s personal preference, no matter what the actual outcome in the general. Despite the good feelings felt when voting for Warren, I’ve witnessed scant willingness to look to ramifications, such as nominating a fossil fuel candidate, preventing timely climate action, and losing to Trump.
I’ve asked dozens the simple question, “How does a vote for Warren NOT lead to a brokered convention that nominates Bloomberg or Biden?”
The response is often evasive and a-political. “I don’t believe in strategy.” “I won’t vote based on fear.” Someone told me, “A vote for Warren is a vote for Warren.”
Meanwhile, Sanders’ supporters are raising money independently, putting people on the ground everywhere, canvassing one person per second during an active primary, looking at polls, scoping out policies, and studying the nuances of the DNC rules—all with the goal of winning at that first round with 51% of the vote. (This, to begin with, is an unrealistically high benchmark for a primary that had a field of 29 candidates at one point.
In contrast, “Elizabeth Warren opened 2020 vowing to be the candidate of Democratic unity, but now she’s holding out hope of winning at a contested convention,” reported the Asocciated Press.
When Warren recently opted out of the movement to free the U.S. from the iron grip of corporate sponsored candidates, her supporters remained unperturbed.
Less than a week after she self-praised for supposedly being the only one of two candidates, who did not accept PAC money, she agreed to the founding of a SuperPac, with undisclosed funding at the 11th hour of her campaign.
“According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) data, Persist PAC’s Custodian of Records and Treasurer is Chris Koob, who previously worked in one of the highest-ranking executive positions for the oil drilling advocacy group Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE),” one outlet reported.
Warren next equated the Sanders’ Nurses United PAC and the Sunrise Movement, which endorsed him, with a PAC launched by someone affiliated with a global energy consortium filled with prominent military and geopolitical advisors.
“It’s ridiculous to lump groups like Sunrise in with billionaire-funded Super PACs,” said Stephen O’Hanlon, Sunrise Movement communications director. “Unlike PACs set up by billionaires to blanket the air waves with attack ads, Sunrise and the other groups we’re working with represent working people, young people, and people of color.”
But Warren supporters don’t appear to notice when their candidate’s spin is inaccurate. “Men do it,” they seem to say. “Good for her.”
Many of them also categorically state that they “don’t believe Sanders can win.” They say this with great conviction while refusing to look at five years of polling that shows Sanders to be the only candidate who wins over Trump consistently.
In a conversation with a Warren supporter friend yesterday, I asked, “How does a vote for Warren not lead to a brokered convention that nominates Bloomberg or Biden?”
In the course of the conversation, I learned that my friend did not understand the differences between the first and second rounds at the convention. The first is for “pledged delegates,” who based on primary vote tallies are committed to voting for the specific candidate their voters did. The second brings in super delegates and frees all delegates to make deals and re-cast their vote. My friend was not clear on the rules of the brokered convention or who was likely to weigh in should it come to that. The reality is that the second round of deal making is hospitable to candidates with low vote numbers, while the first round is best for the candidate most people have voted for.
The big stumbling block with Warren’s avowed plan to broker a deal at round two, is revealed by the second question I raised, “Why would Bloomberg and Biden agree that their delegates go to Warren—unless they made an agreement with Warren, in which she gave them some major things they want?”
In never occurred to my friend that in a brokered convention, or even well before it, that Warren would make agreements with Biden or Bloomberg. Considering this possibility was seen as unthinkable—as off limits as imagining one’s parents having sex for a child of the 1950’s.
The Death Throes of the Me Generation
While calling themselves progressives, many Warren voters carry the afflicted values of the “Me Generation.” What matters not is the risk of electing a corporatist aligned with fossil fuel companies. What matters to the hundreds of Warren supporters with whom I’ve engaged is how it makes them feel to exercise their vote.
And here are the five reasons that the questions that concern the rest of the progressive movement don’t matter to some Warren supporters:
1. Many won’t take the trouble to analyze or address the DNC convention’s numbers game. When presented with this analysis, they deny it.
2. Some of her supporters over-estimate the value of having Warren in the number 2 spot on say, a Biden ticket. This outcome might be a symbolic win for women—and of course we should want a woman in the White House at long last—but since the role is largely ceremonial, it’s a total loss on health care and climate which the majority of Americans need and want.
3. Many have not taken the time to consider that a candidate chosen in a brokered convention will lack all credibility. Such a nomination will give Trump the high ground. The Independent voters we need to win (46% of Americans) will persist in their disillusionment and stay away from the polls. This option, which Warren supports, could well re-elect Trump.
4. A lot of Warren voters don’t understand the powerful and positive down ballot impact of the Sanders movement campaigning for their frontrunner, to both elect Bernie Sanders and give him the legislative majorities he needs to enact the programs most Americans want. Watching MSNBC, they’ve never seen a Sanders rally, and raise this objection repeatedly in exactly the same language.
5. Some are ready to blame Sanders supporters (yet again) if voters, whom the DNC (and its super delegates) aim to disenfranchise, become disillusioned and apathetic about voting for a candidate forced upon them at a brokered convention. While many wise progressives have moved on from Warren due to this concern, some remain unable to take responsibility by aligning with the majority to PREVENT a brokered convention.
After it became quite apparent in recent days that a vote for Warren does indeed lead to a brokered convention, possibly favoring Biden and Bloomberg, I asked my Warren-favoring friend to consider:
How would progressives feel about working so diligently and spending their hard-earned money against the deep pockets of billionaires and by doing so, actually win the plurality of the people’s votes?
If a movement with such a deep commitment to democracy, succeeds in doing what was thought to be the impossible—winning a plurality while freeing our politics from this economic authoritarian control, it’s a far greater demonstration of political ingenuity and entrepreneurship than is forming inaccurate opinions by channel surfacing between MSNBC and CNN.
If progressives win a plurality and then find themselves disenfranchised by the Democratic Party, with the backing of a generation who, over the next few decades, will soon depart the earth—does anyone who goes along with that demonstrate respect for democracy?
Thanks to corporate media, many Democrats have learned to frame the key question backwards. Warren voters don’t realize that the real question is not whether progressives will vote for your candidate, but whether you, Warren supporters, will allow the disruption of democracy rather than defend the well-earned right of the majority to do their all to elect theirs?
It’s becoming clearer that the “Me Generation” and the “Not Me, Us Generation” have a difference in values. The “Me Generation” lost its revolution, and is now waning and heading towards the end of life. The “Not Me, Us Generation,” on the ascendant, is winning its revolution if we let it, and will be left behind to try to save this planet. Why not give them a headstart, rather than tie them up, blame them, and make them wait until every last Boomer bites the dust?
Rather than spoil their odds with late stage agendas, some would like to pass the reins and spend their last years cheering on the young. It would be better for people to do that.