By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders
In 1969 the Charles Manson cult family committed acts of atrocities going on a seemingly senseless killing spree hoping that it would foment a race war in the United States leading to some kind of warped revolution. Manson referred to that strategy as “helter skelter” which became the name of the best-selling book by Vincent Bugliosi who alas successfully prosecuted those crimes in California.
Can it possibly be that Bernie Sanders is adopting a similar political strategy as he faces the end game in his fight for the Democratic nomination and his self-styled political “revolution”? Does Bernie Sanders really hope that Donald Trump will become President (if he cannot) so as to hasten an uprising by the masses? Farfetched? Well in this zaniest of political years it seems that no story line, no plot is implausible.
Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed Socialist turned Democrat, has proclaimed that he is not just running in a political campaign, but he is leading a revolution in American politics to revamp economic balance and the distribution of national wealth. Bernie is not an incrementalist. He wants change to happen now, immediately. Fair enough. He has raised some very important questions during his longshot campaign. And he has won millions of votes and a number of primaries and caucuses along the way. His message is resonating.
But as we near the very end of the nominating process, he remains behind Hillary Clinton in every metric. Fewer total votes, fewer States won and fewer pledged delegates. It is now mathematically impossible for Sanders to overtake Clinton’s lead before the Democratic Convention this summer in Philadelphia.
In spite of this reality Bernie has sharpened his attacks and made them more personal against Hillary. The New York Times ran a front page story a week ago indicating that the Sanders campaign was intent on doing much harm to Hillary Clinton. The big question is, what is the motivation to further damage a candidate who is in every way closer to Bernie on all the issues than the presumptive Republican nominee?
Well, one answer is that the Sanders campaign remains in denial about their chances of actually capturing the Democratic nomination. But numbers don’t lie, nor do they deceive. We deceive ourselves. Another answer is that the Bernie Sanders campaign doesn’t care what happens after the nomination is lost to them. That they are in it for one purpose, and if they cannot get the nomination they care little about what happens later. All or nothing at all.
The other darker explanation is that the Bernie campaign really is intent on a revolution in the politics and policies of this nation and anything short of radical and immediate change is unacceptable. So if Bernie Sanders cannot be the standard bearer of this revolution as the candidate for President then what better way to instigate a political insurrection than to help put Donald Trump in the White House and then let the reality of a demagogue in office rile up the populace big time. The result? Helter skelter! Admittedly this analysis may be a bit outlandish. But would that not be in keeping with most everything we have seen during this most improbable election season? Are you feeling the Bern?