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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 48 New Delhi November 19, 2016

USA Election — Democratic Party damaged its own prospects by discriminating against Bernie Sanders

Monday 21 November 2016, by Bharat Dogra

It is now belatedly being realised by many people that Bernie Sanders had better chances of defeating Donald Trump if he was the Democratic Party’s chosen candidate in the presidential election in the USA. This is because he was more capable of enthusing supporters and voters. This was evident at the time of his campaign. His followers were much more dedicated and committed to their cause.

Instead of encouraging these dedicated supporters who were willing to work very hard, the Democratic Party establishment tried to discourage these youths because it did not want a Left-of-Centre agenda to gain support. So a lot of unfair efforts were made within the Democratic Party so that Hillary Clinton could surge ahead and Bernie Sanders was pushed aside.

This resulted in the emergence of Clinton as the Democratic Party’s candidate for presidency but she could not really enthuse the voters even though the overall circumstances were highly favourable for her at one time. It was widely and repeatedly said that this election was about choosing the lesser evil and this was the reason for supporting Clinton. But such negative support can never create the atmosphere, the enthusiasm for assuring victory in such elections.

The defeat of the Democratic Party is largely a self-goal as things would have been much more exciting and brighter if Bernie Sanders had been the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party establishment interfered with and obstructed the people’s support for Sanders and finally the party had to pay heavily for this. Certainly there is much to learn from this sad experience.

After the election results came out, Bernie Sanders expressed deep concern at the inability of the Democratic Party to get the support of several working class people. “It is an embarrassment, I think, to the entire Democratic Party that millions of White working-class people decided to vote for Mr Trump,” Sanders told the Associated Press. “Which suggests that the Democratic message of standing up for the working people no longer holds much sway among workers in this country.”

Sanders has written: “You cannot be a party which on one hand says we’re in favour of working people, we’re in favour of the needs of young people but we don’t quite have the courage to take on Wall Street and the billionaire class... People do not believe that. You’ve got to decide which side you’re on.”

Bharat Dogra is a free-lance journalist who has been involved with several social initiatives and movements.