Embedded with the Sanders Campaign in LA - Saturday June 4. 72 hours until the polls close.
The reality of the unreality, the reality of the potential for genuine global, planetary, environmental, social, economic transformation is almost too much to bear, like being high, like being excited, like Christmas morning… only better.
I am at HQ for the 9AM canvas. There are at least 100 other people there ready to walk the early Saturday morning LA streets. The first photo is of the crowd getting their assignments. Look at the demographic! As Bernie says … we are doing very well among those under 40.
The canvass itself is very hard for this senior. It is hot. No one is home. I walk for hours in a middle class/working class LA neighborhood in Hollywood just on the other side of a freeway. The photo of the Hollywood sign in the distance is my view walking back to HQ. The few people I do talk with seem genuinely supportive, if not also somewhat disinterested. The enthusiasm of the campaign and the campaign workers and the volunteers is quickly dissipated in the reality of the lives being lived in the villages.
Back at HQ you see another pic of a typical cross section of volunteers – mostly young, many not “white,” an equal presence of women and men. Many openly gay people. Some gray hairs … but not Cape Cod!!
Bernie arrives to gives a very short, real, personal presentation. (That's him, way in the rear of that last photo.) Even if you’ve heard it before it is worth repeating. This is not about percentages. This is the candidate, the man, talking directly to the troops. His family is with him. Grown sons. Grandchildren. This is the campaign leadership reminding his loyal foot soldiers that we are doing this work not just to elect a progressive, compassionate, visionary Jewish son of immigrants to lead the nation, but a movement, a political rEvolution, that we are doing this work in an effort to help one another live fuller, richer, more satisfying lives. That we are doing this work so that the planet we leave our children will be healthy and habitable, that the water from that comes through the faucet will be safe and drinkable, that we won’t be the nation with more people in jail per capita than any other nation on earth. We are being given an opportunity to change the world Bernie tells us. He asks that we do all we can. That we not despair. He reminds us that the battle to win the nomination will continue to the Convention. Bernie says if we have a YUGE voter turnout on Tuesday we shall win and if we do not … and he actually says these words … we shall lose. He thanks the troops. The troops cheer back “Thank you.” The next team of over 100 canvassers heads out the door.
There is talk in the air that the rules of the Dem National Committee itself will be turned upon the Party and used to invalidate the delegate standing of certain super Ds who - it will be alleged breached the DNC's own Delegate Selection Rules. I talk with Jeff Weaver about this. (Well “talk” may not exactly be accurate as it implies a back and forth dialog. I talk. Jeff listens.) Maybe I’m not saying anything new. The fight over super delegates WILL be the next battleground … all the way from the last primary on June 14 until a nominee is chosen in Philly.
Indeed, at the Massachusetts Dem Convention held this same day in Lowell, MA Senator Elizabeth Warren, no slouch of a political luminary and one of the Party’s most prominent figures speaks critically of her Party’s 'super-delegate' process, going so far as to say super delegates shouldn’t “sway the election." I want to believe that these words mean Elizabeth thinks the supers ought not vote on the first ballot. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Bernie’s last words before leaving to his next venue … after saying “thank you” again ... are “onward to victory.” He doesn’t yell the words. He says the words softly, almost under his breath, almost as if to himself. But he is oh so clearly talking to all of us as well. “Onward to victory,” he says. You gotta believe. You also have to call into California.