Now that the collective waterboarding of the primaries is behind us, I don’t know how I’ll endure 150 days until Election Day.
On Monday, Bernie Sanders came to my neighborhood. I lined up along Mission Street. The Secret Service told us to stand against the wall. There were lots of Bernie Bros about, by which I mean mostly people of color chanting in Spanish. Bernie came out of La Taqueria where, I am afraid, he did not order from the secret menu, and came through the crowd shaking hands. When he got to me, supervisors David Campos and Jane Kim, his entourage, introduced us, “This is Nato Green, our comedian.”
Bernie shook my hand and thanked me, presumably for all my well-crafted holocaust/class war jokes. I captioned my #BerNato selfie with the Mission being overrun by Jewish socialists. Bernie’s hands are soft, like mine, which suggests that my life of righteous, failing causes may have a future in it. Years ago, I saw Bernie speak to a capacity crowd of old white people with fanny packs. At the time, I thought, an old white guy saying sad statistics for an hour and a half doesn’t feel like the revolution to me. Apparently, I was wrong.
In the last month, 500,000 new Democrats registered in California. That’s what a contested primary with real ideological differences gets. Thank goodness, Bernie didn’t quit sooner like he was told.
Since the Associated Press dispensed with democratic process, I’ve been mad. I hate substanceless horse race press coverage, superdelegates, caucuses, primary schedules, the electoral college, campaign mailers, memes, think pieces (including my own right now) and all of the other things that, by design, discourage participation, minimize real change and keep people cynical and disengaged.
Speaking of cynicism, I like it when people get excited about politics. I didn’t think much about Bernie until people got really excited and turned out in hordes. I’m enjoying watching people be moved about Hillary’s shattering of ye olde glass ceiling. I’m also amused by the stunning chutzpah of whoever put Angela Davis on a “We Did It” Hillary meme.
I propose a constitutional amendment that makes George Bush the last white-male president. We should allow a period of time now, maybe the next 50 years, where no more white guys get to seek higher office. Bernie’s great, but for every Bernie, there are a hundred Paul Ryans. Dayenu.
Those advocating a third party road for Bernie should realize that Bernie lost SAN FRANCISCO. If he can’t win here, what could the strategy possibly be? The system is rigged to discourage radical change, but Clinton won the most votes. By a lot. By millions of votes. Voter fraud/suppression doesn’t yield that kind of margin.
Meanwhile, Clintonites are hastily glossing over the 11 million votes Bernie got and the agenda that energized them. Assuming that an anti-Trump vote will be enough to bring these new and independent voters out without substantive engagement with the policies will help Clinton lose.
Two big silver linings I take from this election: First, the end of Christian piety. For the first time in my life, spouting a bunch of sanctimonious Jesusy mumbo jumbo did not mean foolproof triumph. For us heathens, we can savor our vices in peace.
Second, conventional wisdom has long been that the growing mass of independent voters were politically to the right of Democratic primary voters. Sanders’ success with independent voters suggests that may not be true. They may be further to the left than most Democratic politicians on matters of economic and environmental justice, and the military. Down-ticket Democrats who want to win, which Democrats are often ambivalent about, would be wise to tap that well and run as Sanders Democrats.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go compose my bucket list for things to do until President Trump sends me to a concentration camp.
Nato Green is a San Francisco-based comedian and writer. He has a monthly movie-riffing show with Natasha Muse and Kaseem Bentley called Riffer’s Delight at the Alamo Drafthouse. Debates to @natogreen.