In the continuing saga of BERNIE SANDERS WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING, the Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that the Sanders campaign is planning something super cool for the day before the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia:
The Sanders campaign wants to hold a "traditional Bernie campaign rally" July 24 at FDR Park in South Philadelphia, campaign spokesman Michael Briggs said.
The date and location already had been scooped up from the city by Sanders supporter Bill Taylor, of Northeast Philadelphia. Now, the Sanders campaign is coordinating with Taylor to use the permit to get a prime spot for the rally. Briggs did not elaborate on the rally plans except to say that Sanders would deliver a "victory statement."
Sanders currently trails Hillary Clinton in pledged delegates; she is expected to have more than enough delegates to secure the nomination at the convention.
That sounds totally sweet and totally awesome and not at all like he's trying to downplay the votes of the millions of Democrats who chose Hillary Clinton over him, full stop.
Especially when combined with the reports that his "hand-picked" New York delegates, as profiled in Politico, have been detailing their plans to disrupt the convention should Sanders' not be included in the party platform. One of his delegates from Philadelphia has been actively rooting for Clinton's indictment. And then there was this statement:
If she doesn’t feel there was movement on her issues, [Sanders delegate] Sarsour said she will have a hard time encouraging voters to support Clinton over Trump. “You cannot win without the Bernie revolution,” she said. “I’ve visited 20 cities over the past five months [for Sanders], and the Bernie or Bust movement is real.”
I also get that there are Sanders supporters who are profoundly, deeply, gut-wrenchingly disappointed, even angry, that he is not going to clinch the nomination. I also get that there are people who feel they cannot vote for the Democrats, or for Hillary Clinton, for a variety of reasons, some of which are extremely compelling indeed. But generally speaking, I don't expect the Sanders campaign to hand-pick delegates who say they can't support the candidate of the party whose nomination he's been trying to win.
For the Sanders campaign to be encouraging this kind of Trump-enabling bullshit is not only troubling to me, it is terrifying. I do not make historical comparisons lightly, as readers of this space well know. But when people who are old enough to remember the 1930s tell me that Trump's rallies remind them of speeches from a Mussolini or a Hitler, I listen.
When Trump talks about Hispanic Americans as criminals and as less than human, I also listen. When he talks about the Muslim American community as if they are a grave and pressing danger to national security, I pay attention. When he openly abets and encourages violence against women of all races, against male minorities, when he mocks people with disabilities, when he speaks casually of the war crimes he plans, I think about all of the hateful 20th and 21st century dictators, from all around the world, whose rhetoric Trump gleefully echoes.
But one doesn't have to leave the shores of the United States to see where this could go. If a Franklin Delano Roosevelt was willing to "creatively interpret" the Constitution to round up Japanese-Americans and inter them, why on earth do we think a Donald John Trump wouldn't be willing to do the same to whatever group he decides to label a security risk? If an Andrew Jackson could sneer at Supreme Court rulings and use blatantly illegitimate treaties to pursue the forced removal of Indigenous people from their homes, then what protection do we imagine that laws and treaties and other documents might give to vulnerable Americans when a Donald Trump decides they are in the way? If a Rutherford B. Hayes could decide that it was simply politically inexpedient to protect the civil rights, indeed the very lives, of black citizens living in the South, then what kind of defense can marginalized Americans expect from a Donald J. Trump?
I get the issue of disappointment and I daresay Hillary Clinton does too. With a much closer margin of votes, she competed with Barack Obama in 2008 until June. Then, on June 7, 2008, she delivered one of the most gracious, and perhaps most important concession speeches in United States history. She began the movement for unity in early June, more than two months before the late August convention. During the convention, she released her delegates and moved to nominate Obama by acclamation. Because it was that important to beat the Republicans and to elect our first African-American President.
And Donald Trump makes John McCain look reasonable, maybe even downright charming, by comparison.
Bernie Sanders, take note. Run this thing to the convention if you want to. But remember the stakes. Write it on your hand. Tape it to the mirror. Repeat after me:
Stop the Trump. Stop the Trump. Stop the Trump.