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    Senator Bernie Sanders looks on after the Vermont delegation cast their votes during roll call on the second day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 26, 2016

    Is the DNC Really Moving Left or Trying to Co-Opt the Sanders Movement?

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    Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has joined new DNC Chair Tom Perez on a tour across the US in an attempt to salvage a splintered Democrat Party. Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear spoke with editorial cartoonist and columnist Ted Rall about whether this effort is a genuine move toward progressivism or a cynical effort to co-opt a grassroots movement.

    Rall said that while the Democratic National Committee has pretty clear interests in the tour, Sanders’ motivations are less apparent.

    ​"It’s pretty obvious what’s in it for the DNC. The DNC really got their a**** handed to them last year in no small part because of the Bernie Sanders voters who did not show up at the polls," Rall said. 

    He explained that there were three key states that could’ve swayed the election for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, but for the fact that Sanders supporters stayed home out disillusionment with a Democratic Party establishment they felt did all they could to sabotage their candidate.

    "What’s not so clear is exactly what’s in it for Bernie Sanders," Rall mused. "He’s in his mid-70s, he is not likely to run for president again in the future, so it’s hard to imagine there’s a deal being teed up for 2020, or, God help us all, 2024. I don’t think he’s going to run again, I don’t think they’re going to offer him any big chairmanships in the Senate. The best I can fathom is that they have simply convinced him that a united front against [US President] Donald Trump is going to be the best way under this system to oppose the most right wing tendencies of this administration." 

    Rall added that he’s "extremely doubtful" about whether this tactic will be effective in winning progressive voters back into the Democratic fold. "The Democrats have really no leg to stand on when they try to present themselves as the party of resistance, considering the fact that they haven’t been good for much resistance in decades."

    Brian Becker pointed out that although Sanders is often portrayed as a departure from the mainstream of the Democratic Party, "on a lot of issues of empire, Bernie Sanders isn’t breaking from the Democratic Party establishment at all." 

    Rall agreed and said he realized as much when he interviewed Sanders towards the beginning of his presidential campaign. He asked the popular senator if he would end the US drone program if elected president, and Sanders said that he would scale back the drones but would not end the program.

    "I was taken aback by that … He’s certainly not a pacifist and he’s certainly very pro-American exceptionalism. So I wouldn’t expect strong statements against Trump’s missile strike against Syria or anything like that. But what’s funny about all this is that it reeks of a sell-out. But if a guy is selling out you have to ask what’s he getting in return, and I can’t figure that out," he said.

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    DNCchair, DNC, tour, Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez, Bernie Sanders, United States
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