The ‘Squad’ Can Learn From How Bernie’s Campaign Unfolded.
As their careers and political clout continue to grow, progressives in congress have to be mindful of what to expect from the Democratic party.
After Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign, whether corporate Democrats would like to admit it or not, millions of young people in particular were inspired by the idea that we not only deserve, but should expect far better from our lawmakers here in the United States. Countless individuals were inspired to run for office on platforms similar to his, and others were forming groups like Justice Democrats to help them succeed. Obviously, among some of the most visible of the new blood emerging within the Democratic party would be ‘the squad’, which had risen to congress with help from groups like Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats. Now, there’s no denying that even though they have yet to serve even a full term in Congress, women like Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have garnered more political clout than almost anyone else among Democratic party ranks. As their careers continue to grow and their voices become even more amplified, there are certainly lessons for them to learn from the way Bernie Sanders’ campaigns ultimately unfolded.
Considering the fact that she almost singlehandedly saved Bernie Sanders’ 2020 campaign and is already 4th in 2024 primary polling ahead of Andrew Cuomo, there’s no denying that AOC’s future is particularly bright. That said, if she wants any hope of success to perhaps challenge Senator Schumer for his seat or even run for President down the line, perhaps the single most important and obvious lesson that she and her fellow Justice Democrats could learn is that the Democratic party will likely always be an active barrier standing in their way.
Recently, Jordan Chariton with The Intercept reported that the DNC was directly involved in the development of the app that resulted in the fiasco that unfolded in the 2020 Iowa Primary.
“THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE refused to cooperate with investigators and was “directly involved in the development process” of the infamous Shadow app ahead of the 2020 Iowa caucuses. That’s the conclusion of the former U.S. attorney leading the investigation into what went wrong during the first-in-the-nation caucuses, as relayed to the Iowa State Democratic Party in a closed-session meeting last week, according to a transcript of the meeting obtained by The Intercept.
“The DNC was directly involved in the development process,” Nicholas Klinefeldt, a former federal attorney appointed by President Barack Obama, told the Iowa Democratic Party state steering committee in the December 12 meeting about the findings of an investigation he led alongside former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell.
…The DNC-mandated several-day delay in reporting results led Buttigieg to infamously declare victory without any actual results released, with the Sanders campaign claiming its internal results showed it had won the popular vote. The mainstream media elevated the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor’s victory narrative, boosting him in polls for the New Hampshire primary, set eight days after the Iowa caucuses.
This of course wasn’t the first time the public had reason to believe that the Democratic party was going to do everything it could to slow the momentum and muddy the waters surrounding Bernie Sanders’ campaign. How can we forget the infamous 2016 emails in which John Podesta agreed that Bernie Sanders needed to be “ground to a pulp” and asked “where would you stick the knife in?” Of course, that did not stop the DNC from naming him to the 2020 convention Rules Committee at a time when Bernie was poised to become the nominee. That said, I’m admittedly curious as to what the Squad would do in response to what happened just days before Super Tuesday.
Considering how Barack Obama didn’t miss a beat in coordinating the ultimate defeat of Bernie’s campaign, is AOC prepared for the fact that in eight or twelve years time if she runs, he will likely do the same to her?
If ‘the squad’ is to have any hopes of success in the future, they have to accept the reality that there is no amount of pragmatism or careful approaches towards the corporate wing of the Democratic party that will make them acceptable in their eyes. While I understand their desire to navigate strategically and that they operate in spaces entirely different from frustrated leftists who want them to be bolder, at what point do we remember the lengths the party will go to stop them anyways? After affirming that she would not force a vote on Medicare for All in exchange for a vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker, AOC was rewarded by being snubbed for a committee position that she was thought to be a lock for. I can’t help wondering how many more times will this happen before she might reconsider her approach?
That said, it should also go without saying that Tea Party Republicans were not successful because they were careful and maneuvered in ways acceptable to old school Republican lawmakers and operatives. Their takeover was hostile, unapologetic, and fueled by the energy of the base similar to the energy of the base behind AOC. The DNC was not kind to Bernie Sanders, and it will not be kind to AOC or her fellow ‘squad’ members. The question is, will they simply shrug their shoulders, bide their time, and accept that as reality, or use their power to fight back?