Can Bernie Sanders Save the Democratic Convention?

Can Bernie Sanders Save the Democratic Convention?

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Isn’t it ironic, as Alanis Morissette once sang, that it may be up to the white-haired, insurgent outsider Bernie Sanders to save the Democratic National Convention that will nominate his arch-rival, status quo insider Hillary Clinton?

On the angry heels of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and its dark-clouds-over-America message, the Dems had a chance to demonstrate they are the party of hope, of light, of belief in a country that is already great -- as Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia suggested on Saturday when he was introduced to the world as Clinton’s running mate.

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But nobody knows how to snatch discord from the jaws of opportunity like the Democrats.

* Turns out Kaine has a judgment problem, if not an ethics problem. And that, of course, is one of Donald Trump’s big knocks on Clinton. Terrible judgment. As governor of Virginia, he accepted $160,000 in gifts, which was allowed in that state, but as The New York Times detailed yesterday, some of those gifts were from corporations with issues before the commonwealth.

* Turns out Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), tried to undermine the Sanders candidacy even though she was supposed to be neutral – just as Sanders said throughout the primaries. Emails released by WikiLeaks lay out her treachery. The Clinton camp has suggested that the emails were obtained by Russian hackers, presumably orchestrated by the forces of Vladimir Putin, who would love to see his admiring capitalist comrade Trump become president. So Wasserman Schultz resigned but will speak at the convention and did say in a why-can’t-you-just-shut-up moment that she would be campaigning for Hillary.

* Turns out Wasserman Schultz is being replaced, at least temporarily, by the vice-chair of the DNC, Donna Brazile, a longtime Clinton loyalist.

* Turns out the Clintonistas invited former New York Mayor and Wall Street billionaire Mike Bloomberg to address the convention on Wednesday night. When he declined to run for president in March, Bloomberg said he could not in good conscience mount a third-party candidacy that could help elect Trump, and he later denounced both Trump and Sanders in a veiled reference to demagogues in both parties. Giving Bloomberg a bully pulpit may attract businesspeople, financial types and the all-important educated independents, but it will just pour salt on the wounded Sandernistas.

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As thousands of supporters of the Sanders Revolution rally in the streets of Philadelphia, it will be up to their democratic socialist leader to make the case when he speaks tonight that though he may have been robbed of DNC support that would have given him a fairer shot at the nomination, even the standard bearer of a rigged system is better than the red-faced, egomaniac carrying the flag of Lincoln.

In his call to come together in the face of inanity and insanity, Sanders should get help from Michelle Obama, even though her husband couldn’t bring his bromide-spouting self to denounce Wasserman Schultz for the cheating dunderhead she is.

And left-wing powerhouse Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will also be on the opening-night card, rallying the dismayed and disenfranchised progressive troops to march onward to November with the candidate of the Clinton Machine, a vice president who is a heart-in-the-right-place centrist at best, and the gnawing feeling that Trump is on the money when he says the system is rigged.

But the burden of unity will be on Bernie’s stooped shoulders.

It would be sort of awesome if Sanders stepped to the podium, said he changed his mind, couldn’t stomach backing a candidate buttressed by conniving operatives like Wasserman Schultz and would accept Jill Stein’s invitation to join the Green Party ticket.

He won’t. Bernie will be a good soldier. The man in the tower of mirrors has made sure of that.