It is Congress that would pass single payer health care. Yet Bernie is pushing for it.

It is Congress that would pass climate change legislation. Yet Bernie is pushing for it.

It is Congress that would change the tax laws, so the rich pay a fair amount. Yet Bernie is pushing for it.

And it is Congress that would pass small dollar citizen funding of elections. Yet Bernie is not pushing for it.

Indeed, not only is he not pushing for it, he is affirmatively pushing against it, by saying it is something we should not be doing immediately (in the part you didn’t quote, “over the long term, I believe we need to move toward public funding of elections.”) To say that Congress should do this “over the long term” is precisely to say, contra Warren, that Congress should not be doing it “now.”

To observe that is not to “belittle” anyone. But of course it is to “criticize.” And how could I not? My whole argument has been that we must fix this first. That none of the critical changes that America needs are even possible if we don’t fix this first. So where would the integrity be in my now saying, “Bernie is great on the solutions to corruption”—when plainly, given what I’ve said, I do not believe that he is.

So what’s “my strategy”? To say what’s true. Why is that so puzzling? I’m not saying, on balance, one shouldn’t vote for Bernie. (I’ve said tons critical of Clinton; that’s not to say I won’t support her over Trump.) I am saying only that he is not leading us to the solution on this (in my view), the first problem. He’s great on the problem. He’s passionate about its consequence. But to tell us what’s wrong is not to show us how we could fix it. And the most important task now is to give America a sense of what would fix it. As Harvey Milk said, you got to give them hope. Hope is something more than a zinger about Clinton’s cash.

For sure, re “my strategy”: that’s not a great “strategy” for getting a job in a Sanders administration, or getting appointed a judge, or getting invited to the White House, or making friends among the BernieBros. But none of that is my job. My job, when writing in public, is to say what I believe is true. There are plenty whose job is to say what will help a cause, or what will get someone elected, or what will defeat the devil. I admire those people. I admire their skills. That’s not me.

Written by

law professor, activist.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store