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Applauding Bernie Sanders...sort of.

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    As a former Democratic Party precinct chair in Colorado, one of my biggest frustrations was trying to get my neighbors to attend caucus meetings every two years. Another was to find volunteers to help with voter registration, canvassing for candidates, or otherwise taking an interest in local, state or federal candidates for office, or the various proposed laws and amendments to the Colorado constitution. Our caucus meeting were sparsely attended, and never once did I see a person under 30 attend...never. And I really tried, "canvassing for the caucus" going door to door of apartments where young people lived. I came up zero.

    Then Bernie Sanders came along and energized a base of young people who previously were minimally active in politics. And last night as I attended our neighborhood caucus I was overwhelmed by the presence of young Bernie supporters everywhere. They not only delivered Colorado in a big way to Bernie, they also were elected as precinct chairs and delegates to the County Assembly. If my precinct is representative of the state as whole, Bernie Sanders's political revolution is alive and well. As a Hillary supporter I had to admire their passion, even if I disagreed with some of their assertions, uninformed opinions and sometimes almost hateful ideology about Hillary and what her life has been about.

    For the 30 Bernie supporters who dominated our precinct caucus meeting, I salute you. I just hope you'll be there for the long haul into 2018 and beyond, for better or worse, because politics is messy and it's easy to become disillusioned when campaign promises cannot be kept because the "other side" controls some of the strings to effective government and compromises are necessary for progress. That's the meaning of progressivism. Things just don't happen in big giant revolutionary steps unless the ruling part has an overwhelming control of all three branches of government as FDR did in 1932. Mostly it's slow hard work building relationships and doing your homework...and making lots and lots of compromises along the way.

    For those now participating in the government for the first time, keep an open mind and learn from the experience...and read history. The progressive movement did not start with Bernie. It's been alive and well for over a century...sometimes going forward with leaps, sometimes a step backwards, and sometimes stagnant...but always making progress over time. Live with it and learn about the "other" instead of repeating political talking points not serving any purpose but to divide us. Life is too short to "hate" the other.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Well said Schmidt.

    My concern with the die hard Bernie supporters is that they won't show up in November if he is not the candidate. This concern is especially so for first time voters who will be dejected if Bernie isn't the nominee.

    I hope these die hard supporters will use their enthusiasm to force Hillary Clinton (if she is the nominee) to take them seriously and try to bring them in to her tent. If she writes them off and ignores them then I believe she will be doing so at her own peril.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Well Hillary has been trying to reach out to them, but at least those interviewed on TV do not seem impressed. In the end it will take Bernie himself to lead his tribe of supporters to vote for Hillary outlining why it is so important (e.g. Supreme Court nominee just being one of them). I'm not sure many have thought that critically about it yet.

    In any case, Bernie has promised to take his campaign all the way to the convention, even when the numbers are no longer there. What that would achieve I don't know, but it would keep his movement alive as long as possible for some deal making with Hillary.

    The positive is that at least in states with caucuses, the Bernie supporters probably now have influential positions with the party's Central Committee and will have a strong voice in preparing the party platform, working on the vacancy committee, and other committees that can steer the direction of the party. And because they have that voice, many will be more inspired to vote. Maybe that's wishful thinking on my part. The Bernie supporters I met are all intelligent and passionate, but perhaps too prone to believe the anti-Hillary narrative being pushed by Republicans and some liberals.

    On the negative side, they could overshoot. Look what the Tea Party did to the Republican Party Platform of Texas.

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    Thanks, Schmidt: for all your experience & hard work. You may be motivating others to get more involved. We need every bit of enthusiasm and insight we can get. Just think, newbies coming into the flock for the very first time. How exciting it must be. In a year when the stakes are so high --- (a) world war or peace, (b) prosperity for the middle class or poverty. (c) education for all, or suppression of talent, (d) healthcare or weakness, --- I could go on & on. Important Issues NOW.