The Sanders Challenge

The current point in the US presidential race offers a short-lived window of opportunity for some real positive change that rarely comes around. For it not to be wasted requires direct and forceful action by a majority of stakeholders – specifically, the large swath of American electorate that was moved and inspired by the recent Sanders campaign.

The main premise is simple: just how in china stores “if you break it, you own it”, or if you stir up a hornets’ nest, you are forced to deal with it.  So here sen. Sanders has the supreme moral obligation to steer towards sensible consummation the movement that he headed and personified. And now that there is no campaign as such, the buck stops at the top and at the specific individual.  The second premise is that the presumptive act of such closure – his endorsement of sec. Clinton at the DNC, in exchange for some vague and weak political promises – must be reversed and corrected. While controversial and disappointing to much of his base even at the time, the benefit of the doubt was generally given to his move, mostly in the name of pragmatic politics.

However, subsequent events have completely erased that benefit: the overall tone and coverage of the presidential race has slid to unspeakable levels of base reality shows; other nationally balloted parties continue to be shunted and ignored; and most importantly, the relevant issues, lofty goals and plain-talk discourse – the hallmark and passion behind the Sanders movement of the primaries – are irredeemably lost in the Clinton campaign they were supposedly bequeathed to. Where supporters were once supposed to “feel the Bern”, they are now subjected to endless hackneyed banalities around the “T” word, and, if anything, feel only disappointment and betrayal.

There is only one way to combine these two premises: independent sen. Sanders should publicly revoke his endorsement for sec. Clinton, and openly and fully endorse the only nationally balloted presidential option that is ideologically close to the gospel as he preached it: the Green Party’s Stein-Baraka ticket. Period. And while there is a standard string of skeptical counterarguments expected to such a proposal, in this particular situation, any careful and intellectually honest analysis will render them moot. Simply put: such a move would be a truly “huge” game changer by American political standards, capitalizing on the still extant momentum created by the Sanders campaign and opening room for some real possible progress. Among the rest, it would put serious pressure to open the upcoming presidential debates to the two nationally balloted “third” parties, and help restore public discourse to a level of intelligence and relevance.  But the window of opportunity will close soon, and if it does without the above action, most of the American electorate will perceive they are left with the unpalatable choices of lesser evils or complete withdrawal, hoping at best to collect a few political crumbs from the business-as-usual elite table.

In order for this action to happen, Bernie Sanders must be convinced to make this fateful move. Without speculating how much he may be personally inclined to do so at this point, the fact remains that his movement was a two-way street.  He still has the obligation to listen to the masses whose hearts and minds he has touched, and if these voices are strong and united enough, he can ignore them only at his own peril and risk of self-discrediting. Therefore, making their voices heard – clearly and quickly – is the individual moral obligation of anyone moved by the substance and passion of the Sanders primary campaign. While all such individuals have a right to choose their moves and votes, they also have the obligation, specifically at this point in time, to sincerely try and look outside the two-party straight jacket framing the public debate. If there were ever a time to think independently and boldly within the American democratic process, this is it: Carpe diem!

Dr. Radmilo Bozinovic is a computer professional who has worked in the Silicon Valley since 1988. During that time, he has also been involved in numerous public interest projects, ranging from serving on two non-profit boards, to improving language access in state courts and public education. A native of ex-Yugoslavia, he has actively worked to uncover the truth about its civil war and the foreign role played in its breakup, and other conflicts. Read other articles by Radmilo.