What We Learned in 2016: Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders
There was a time when the Democratic Party was the party of movements and changing the status quo. Democrats were champions of equality, the working class, the New Deal, Women’s Rights, and Civil Rights. In effect, the Democratic Party was the people’s party. In this role, Democrats served as a foil to conservatism, inequality, and to the injustices of bigotry and poverty. However, over the last 50 years, Progressives have watched as the Democratic Party has torn itself apart over the Vietnam War. They’ve watched as the party chose management over labor, as they abandoned blue-collar workers in service to white-collar professionals. And, they’ve observed as the party discarded average citizens in pursuit of corporate donors and moneyed elites. Bill and Hillary Clinton were representatives of this incarnation.
Progressives have always been crucial to Democratic wins, but for decades they have placed their demands on the backburner, convinced that the only thing that could save the country from the racist, anti-feminist, pro-war, pro-corporation GOP-monster was aligning with the Center and Center-Right factions of the Democratic Party. Needless to say, in doing so Progressives and Left-leaning Independents have simply been voting for the status quo in election after election for decades. As millions have watched their quality of life erode due to political-class indifference, austerity, and the effects of the upward redistribution of wealth created by neoliberal policy, Progressives and Independents have been pushed to the limit of what they are willing to accept. And they made their dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party known in 2016.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders didn’t open wounds. The race revealed what the Democratic Party has become and the entire world has seen behind the curtain. It was not a pretty. You can read all about it in Political Dysfunction: The State of the Democratic Party.