Sanders Is Not Corbyn

A lot of people are taking comfort in Jeremy Corbyn’s amazing victory in England for leader of the Labour Party as part of a leftist surge in Europe, coming to the USA. They’re right about Europe. We see it with Labour in Great Britain, Podemos in Spain, Syriza (before they folded) in Greece, and the Communists in Portugal, who stand to make enormous electoral gains on October 4. People in the US are making the connection to the Bernie Sanders campaign. If only it were true.

Without going into details, his policies are not like theirs. Perhaps in economic and social positions we see similarities. But it stops there. Sanders is pro-military, pro-Empire building, pro-Israel and thus anti-Palestine, regardless of his statements (rhetoric) of support, pro-gun (for his support of gun manufacturers and not holding them financially accountable), and pro-standardized testing, which only feeds the privatization and corporatist movement in public education.

What we see that is similar is the enthusiasm, strength, and momentum of the campaign. Corbyn was given the nod for nomination to the Labour Party only to allow for a greater degree of views available for debate. That’s unlike any major political party here, encouraging fundamental differences. But his message caught on like wildfire, simply because he was given the mic he never really had before. Soon, Sanders will no longer be ignored or denigrated, as the New York Times is good at doing. Unless, of course, he does so well that he proves a direct threat to the main stream media’s positions. After his first debate, the Sanders’s campaign will take off even more so due to his one-time national exposure.

The political parties in England have a different degree of control of their process than we see in the US. It is the party that determines membership, not filling out a voter’s registration card. They can, as they did with the Corbyn campaign, reject the membership (paid) of registrants, thus denying some Corbyn supporters the ability to vote for him in their primary. It didn’t work. The party apparatus (Blairites) couldn’t keep up with the numbers registering for Labour and Corbyn’s victory was the result.

In the US primary system one usually has to be a member of the party to vote in that, although not in every state. Sanders’s campaign is definitely grass roots and does cross political boundaries with his message that resonates to many. Many people will be voting for Sanders who have never voted before. He’s the new Obama but will unlikely end up in the same way.

The Blairites could not stop Corbyn. The Democratic Party machine will not be able to stop Sanders in the primaries. It is the system that will kill his nomination. The system includes a combination of Party, the convention, and the money that they both rely on for maintaining a campaign. Money doesn’t always win an election, as clearly all General Elections show that with hundreds of millions of dollars invested, one of them always loses.

The super delegates are the key to the nomination process. In England, it’s already settled. For now, Corbyn is the nominee to go against the Conservatives in 2020. In the US, the process is dragged on until next summer. It is at the convention in which those with the ultimate power will decide who the nominee will be, not the Democratic Party voters. Although a majority are committed to Clinton, that could change in a heartbeat. But these super delegates need the very people that Sanders campaigns against for their own electability. It is highly improbable that they will select him as the spokesman for the Party.

It will be at this time that Jill Stein of the Green Party will be outside the Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia with arms wide open welcoming the stunned, angry and disenfranchised Sanders voters to the Green Party tent for the November election. After all, Stein and the Greens are much closer to the Corbyn left of Europe than Sanders.

Myles Hoenig is a veteran of the Prince George's County Public School system in Maryland, USA. He's a long time activist for social justice. He lives in Baltimore. Read other articles by Myles.