Opportunists Are Devouring Bernie Sanders' Legacy
This past Tuesday night, in an unprecedented middle finger to the Democratic Party establishment, hundreds of Bernie Sanders delegates marched out of Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center and straight into an adjacent press tent. Neither the police nor the media were prepared for this surge of Berninators, who -- over the course of an hour -- aired their grievances to reporters, not unlike a mass reeanactment of the Festivus episode of Seinfeld.
"We won't leave until Bernie challenges Hillary to the feats of strength."
Cracked was on hand for this walkout/sit-in/walk-sit, in which Sanders delegates protested the Democratic National Committee's unabashed preference for Clinton as the Democratic nominee. (WikiLeaks' release of hacked DNC emails making this preference clear did nothing to improve their mood.) The Bernie faithful had a two-prong strategy: They effectively brought their case to the corralled news media -- who were hungry for a scoop on a torrid Philly night -- and less effectively drew hasty slogans on signs with Sharpie markers.
A Philadelphia summer is Hell. She's already there.
In fact, this delegate strike was such a damn good idea that it was immediately ripped off twice the very next night. First, Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover, Rosario Dawson, and a hundred or so Sanders delegates marched in again to give a bunch of confusingly simultaneous press conferences. They were there to support Sanders delegate Nina Turner, who claims she'd been dropped from a scheduled slot to give a speech on the convention floor. As far as media coups go, this wasn't a bad one, as most of the population would rather look at Rosario Dawson than a polemic somebody hastily scrawled on a cheesesteak shop menu five minutes prior.
"What was it like working with Tara Reid on Josie And The Pussycats? Sorry, I've been holding that one in for years."
This press-tent-crashing was immediately followed up by a second one headed by Victor Tiffany, the self-proclaimed founder of the "Bernie or Bust" movement, who re-announced plans to turn his pro-Bernie PAC against Hillary Clinton in several swing states "to produce a high-quality attack ad" come autumn. (Tiffany told Cracked that his super PAC had a "very low amount" of cash-on-hand "so far.")
This wasn't our first run-in with Tiffany. Earlier that day, he'd taken the stage at a large pro-Sanders rally in downtown Philly, after which he managed to sneak into the press tent for his second, copycat conference. Both times, he alerted us to have a cameraman ready to capture the "story."
Dude, it's no longer a story once you've announced it in front of a thousand people with cameras.
Taken individually, there was nothing wildly offensive about either Turner or Tiffany's rally. But they both came at the end of a day which I can only describe as a feeding frenzy on Bernie Sanders' legacy. Ever since Sanders double-officially endorsed Clinton on the convention floor, there's been a wild scramble to gobble up his supporters (and all their $27 donations). And perhaps no one's been more successful at this than Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein.
Stein was on hand at the same pro-Sanders rally Tiffany attended. There -- to chants of "Jill not Hill! Jill not Hill!" -- she delivered a 12-minute stump speech that was the antithesis of a Sanders speech. Sanders' primary speeches were fact-n'-stat-jammed affairs -- he drops numbers like good MCs drop mics, which explains how he locked down the rapper vote.
On the other hand, Stein's speech was all emotion, highlighting the broad strokes on which she and Sanders agreed (see: opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership) and ignoring their significant points of disagreement (uh, Stein is sort of an anti-vaxxer, you guys). She's been drawing in disaffected Sanders supporters since the end of his campaign, which caused her donations to skyrocket by 1,000 percent.
In the late 1700s, French journalist Jacques Mallet du Pan famously evoked Roman myth when he opined, "Like Saturn, the Revolution devours its children." The reverse is happening here: Bernie Sanders' revolution is being devoured by a swarm of opportunists who smell money. In Philadelphia, the momentum of his campaign has propelled it off a cliff and into a stagnant quarry, where hungry candiru keep trying to shimmy up its urethra.