There’s several pieces in today’s news about some Bernie Sanders’ supporters being upset that their man didn’t get the nod. Some announced they are leaving the Democratic Party, others left the convention and went home, while some sat pouting on the floor of the media tent. Most remained in the hall, accepted reality, and are getting on with the main task of getting a Democrat back into the White House.
Many feel that Sanders didn’t have any choice but to accept a Clinton nomination. Well this is a perfect “duh” statement. Of course he didn’t have a choice, he lost. Email and Debbie Wasserman Schulz aside, he simply didn’t get enough votes. It’s what political scientist call, realpolitik, the politics of practicality rather than idealism. Bernie Sanders was simply being real when he called for a vote of affirmation for Hillary Clinton.
He knows he was beaten and he knows that if his progressive ideas are to see the light of day they have to be a part of the winner’s platform and he has succeeded with that. It’s been said that 80% of Sanders’ platform is now part of the Democratic Party platform. For a guy who began as an independent, ran as a Democrat, may have been too old, accepted no major funding, formed no PACs, accused the power élite of many nasty things, expressed little willingness to compromise, was way too socialists for many, and rarely had a good hair day, the Sanders crowd can hardly claim they got screwed or that they didn’t make an impact.
Revolutions are often fueled by faith, dreams, and idealism. But there is always a time when the ideals have to step aside for the realities. And the reality is that Sanders and his supporters fought the best fight they could and they lost. Their job now becomes making the most out of the new reality. Hillary is the candidate, they need to throw their energy behind getting her elected, and use that political capital to help keep her toes to the fire of progressive change. That how you play politics in the world of realpolitik.