Saturday, July 16, 2016

Netroots Nation 2016 and the Sanders movement

David Dayen reports from the Netroots Nation convention concluding in St. Louis today (Black Lives Matter Has Come a Long Way Since Heckling Bernie Sanders New Republic 07/15/2016).

Noting that attendance is lower than most years, which he attributes to the upcoming Democratic Convention, he notes:

The candidates who did make it to St. Louis are positioning themselves as part of Sanders’s army, trying to draft off that movement energy. Many that I spoke to were excited that Sanders brought new voices into the political conversation, and are eager to join him in organizing in the years to come. Sanders announced the formation of three new organizations this week to engage in that work, training and funding hundreds of candidates and fighting for progressive issues. “We want to be a willing partner,” said Jim Dean of Democracy for America.

On the other hand, the scramble for the Sanders vote does elide the fact that Clinton won the primary. You can see in these pronouncements a kernel of denial. After all, come January, progressives likely will remain outside the gates of power. Some at the conference are working to change that, by trying to figure out how to influence the Clinton campaign and make sure the executive branch is stocked with allies instead of adversaries. That requires making amends after a divisive primary. “The progressive movement is healing, and healing hurts,” said Nahal, a first-time conference-goer. “You don’t want that alcohol on your wound.”

But the ultimate unifying force looms in the general election. The threat of a Donald Trump presidency has muted much of the anger, and focused attention on core issues and challenges rather than personality conflicts. “It’s important that we look beyond November,” said Gregory Cendana of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance. “No matter who is elected, we have work to do.”

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