Thursday, June 23, 2016

When do I take down my Bernie sign?

The day after Bernie lost to Hillary in the Texas Democratic Primary in early March, I wondered to myself whether I should take down the Bernie sign in my front yard.  "As a Texas Democrat, since Hillary has won the Texas vote, I should follow that decision now, or people might think I'm some kind of anti-Texan" I thought for a second.  Then a millisecond later, it occurred to me this was wrong.

For one thing, I was still planning to go to the Senate District Convention for my state senate district in late March, the next step in the Texas party process.  And of course I would go as a Bernie supporter.  If lucky, as I was in 2004, I could be selected as a delegate representing Bernie in the Texas Democratic Convention in mid June.  It had been incredibly interesting in 2004.  Actually it wasn't luck, in 2004 the turnout in the Senate District Convention was sufficiently low that anyone who wanted to go to the state convention could go.  It had not been so low in 2008 and though I attended the Senate District Convention then too, I did not get selected as a delegate.

I did go to the Senate District convention this year, and just over 60 people attended.  Since that number was below the delegate allotment for my Senate District, once again anyone who wanted to could be a delegate to the state convention.  My friend and I signed in as Bernie supporting delegates.

We went for one day at the Texas Democratic Convention.  We signed many petitions (I know one group of petitions we signed was successfully added to the Texas Democratic Platform) and voted for a Bernie supporting delegate to go to the National convention.  (The delegate we voted for won, and I've since sent her a small donation.  The Hillary supporting chair seemed to try to talk her out of it, giving warnings, especially that it would cost money.)  To be clear I believe the total number of Bernie supporting delegates and Hillary supporting delegates were actually determined by and in proportion to the election results, but among several people in our district running for Bernie delegate we voted for one.  We also voted for a number of other officials.

It was a very interesting experience, though more grueling than fun this time and we decided not to go back for a second day.  We had at least done some things.

So now all the delegates, including the Bernie delegate that I am supporting, are headed to the Democratic National Convention.  One day there will be an actual vote, in which my Bernie delegate will be voting for Bernie.  On that day, the Superdelegates will officially be voting for the first time, and adding their extra voice as working pols (which, btw, is fine with me in principle).   That vote will officially determine who the Democratic Party candidate is.  Before that time, there is no official determination.

It occurs to me that I should at least not take down my Bernie sign until after that vote.  Otherwise I am not showing solidarity with the many hard working Bernie campaigners and supporters I have talked with and supported.

Going a bit further, those principled and far sighted Bernie delegates will also be able to influence the platform and rules at the Democratic National Convention, which is a major reason it has been important not for Bernie to simply capitulate to Clinton.  Maybe I should keep my Bernie sign up until the morning after the Democratic National Convention ends.

Some have suggested just leaving it up, no matter who gets elected President.  I can see it would be a great "Told you so!" whenever anything goes wrong.

But that's not me.  I don't believe in an individualistic politics.  Politics is about groups.  When and if Sanders loses he has pledged to withdraw, and return to his Senate career, where he relies on many Democrats, and to support Clinton.  When the post-convention era begins, I'm not going to be pissing on the wagon, I'm going to try to get on and make the right vibrations to keep it in the right direction and successful, which are actually the same thing.

The thing to do is accurate critical reporting of all candidates.  All should be asked the tough questions.

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