June 7 is coming, and the last few primaries and caucuses will be taking place. They start with my state, California, a rich prize; after that, there’s New Jersey, Puerto Rico, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and New Mexico.
As far as the nominations go, we are at the end game. Trump is the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee and Hillary is very close to securing the Democratic nomination.
Even though Sanders’ campaign is fighting to contest how the primary and caucus system shook out, the current system is what it is until we figure out a way how to change it. Getting through the progression of the Democratic primaries, particularly after the melee at the Nevada Democratic convention last weekend, it’s a good time to take stock of where we’ve been and where we’re going.
Even as someone who decided to vote Clinton in the primaries for the nomination, I always thought Sanders’ message addressing the country’s economic inequality was strategic and timely. But not everyone felt that way enough to vote for him. For some it was thought that addressing economic inequities would alleviate the country’s social inequities of racism and sexism. But it was not enough, nor was it clearly communicated by the Sanders campaign to the people whose lives depended on it.
No amount of the theme of economic inequity can distract you from fear for your child’s safety. Not in the days of Black Lives Matter and George Zimmerman auctioning the gun that killed Trayvon Martin.
The Clintons already made inroads with African American communities that were decades long, and they had the right buttons to push. The one demographic that signified Clinton’s success in the 2016 state primaries was the higher percentage of Clinton support by voters of color. There are some who will argue that Clinton is a tool of the 1%, and is purportedly a hawk, yet she addressed social issues more clearly than Sanders. I know I will take flack for this, but the votes for Clinton by African Americans and other people of color, women and LGBT people also have to indicate the level people felt supported by her through her career and history.
The income and social inequalities this nation suffers was clearly expressed and responded to by the campaigns of these two candidates. Which brings me to the point of this phase — the end game: where Senator Sanders needs to conclude his efforts in the primaries and determine a next course of action, and Secretary Clinton needs to open up the flaps of the Democratic tent to bring Bernie’s supporters aboard. With their agendas as candidates separate yet equal, a unification of both would certainly heal the rifts caused by the political fissures we’ve experienced — most recently in Las Vegas — and elsewhere in the nomination process. And it would certainly make sense.
Ironically enough, Clinton’s slogan for the general election is “Stronger Together.” You can infer a lot from that silly phrase, but I hope it is a sign that she’s intending to open wide the circus tent of the Democratic Party to let Sanders and his supporters in. Because we need them, not only for their votes but also for their ideas and ideals. Based on the groundswell of support in the US from being a candidate who registered under 10% to almost catching up with the party front-runner in less than a year, the Sanders campaign and its ideas are here to stay.
After June 14, when the last primary — the District of Columbia — takes place, the two candidates can take stock, and figure out how to meet each other halfway. They both carry the best goals and deepest aspirations of their party. Why can’t the party platform include both? It is with that I leave with this message of hope: Even though we’re at an end game for one phase, this is only the beginning.