Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL) just endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in his bid for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. This is not small news for a couple reasons.
To start, Grayson is himself trying to secure a seat in the Senate this November, so clearly Grayson has calculated that tying himself to a self-described “Democratic Socialist” doesn’t seem to have an impact on whether he can win that election. Secondly, though it is coming just before Super Tuesday, when many in the punditry class are predicting that Hillary Clinton will handily win enough of the primaries and caucuses that day to knock Sanders’ campaign out of commission, it shows that not everyone in the Democratic “establishment” buying into Hillary’s inevitability.
Lastly, in Grayson’s own words he’s “Felling the Bern,” and he’s not the only one. The DNC’s Vice Chair just resigned her post so she could fully back Sanders’ campaign. Nothing can be taken for granted now.
Grayson announced his support for Sanders after he made the rather unprecedented gesture of allowing the voters to weigh-in and tell him which candidate — Hillary or Bernie — to throw his superdelegate vote behind. Below is Grayson’s Facebook post on the announcement.
Grayson is a leading progressive voice in the party, and his endorsement should buoy Sanders supporters a bit, knowing that at least one superdelegate has pledged to listen not to the party machinery, but to the people he’s supposed to represent. That may not mean anything in the final analysis, but it’s still extremely important.
The narrative that many, many people want Sanders supporters to believe is that he’s unelectable and congress wouldn’t work with him. Grayson’s endorsement shows that at least one person who’s already shown he knows how to win an election thinks that Sanders is extremely electable. I’ve written in the past about why I think Bernie is very electable, and it basically comes down to the fact that people like Bernie have been elected in the past, and that if enough people believe he’s the right person for the job, he’ll win, no matter what the pundits and politicians predict.
Super Tuesday may prove to be a death blow to Sanders 2016, that much is true.
If he loses badly enough, Bernie may not have enough primaries or caucuses left to make a dent. Sanders fans need to square themselves with the idea that he might lose the nomination. But even if he does, Grayson’s endorsement shows that it’s hardly a settled matter that “moderate-to-left-leaning” is the only direction America’s “liberal” party wants to go in, and it shows that even if 2016 isn’t the year, that the winds of change and political revolution are indeed blowing and in our lifetimes we may actually get someone elected who doesn’t kowtow to corporate special interests.
It’s hard to imagine a superdelegate leaving his or her vote up to the people for any other candidate than Bernie Sanders, or someone like him. He has awakened people in this country to the notion that they do have power to change things, but that they can only muster that power together. He’s an exciting candidate and that’s certainly no small part of Grayson’s decision.
Sanders represents many things, and one is a return to the promise of the New Deal. That’s why conservatives and establishment Democrats who have gotten fat off the hog of Supply Side are so stubborn to even give him a modicum of credit. It’s true that at the end of the day he might not be able to overcome his opponents’ rhetoric, and maybe someone who even remotely embraces the word “socialism” is still too scary for many Americans to trust in the White House.
Still though, if a sitting congressman that is a strong liberal voice in the movement is backing him, it makes me wonder who else is out there willing to do the same, and if enough of them were to rally behind Sanders and become a chorus of support if the media narrative about Clinton’s inescapable destiny would forever be altered. Considering the DNC’s second-in-command just stepped down from her high-ranking position within the party to endorse Sanders, I’d hardly say Super Tuesday is the end of the road for Bernie, but then I’m a comedian?
What do I know?