The Sanders Campaign and the Left


1. See Eric Chester, Socialists and the Ballot Box (Praeger, 1985), 131–47, for an account of the realignment perspective.

2. Jason Schulman, “The Sanders Campaign and the Democratic Party,” New Politics, May 27, 2015.

3. Center for Responsive Politics, “The Money Behind the Elections.”

4. Steven Hayward, “How Did the Democrats Become the Party of the Rich,” Forbes, January 8, 2014.

5. Thomas Ferguson, The Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems (University of Chicago Press, 1995), 27.

6. Marty Cohen, David Karol, et al., The Party Decides: Presidential Nominations Before and After Reform (University of Chicago Press, 2008), 3.

7. According to tabulations from the Center for Responsive Politics, labor unions donated $618,000 to President Obama’s 2012 reelection effort, compared to $21 million from the finance, insurance, and real estate sector, and $19 million from the health sector. No doubt this tabulation vastly understates labor’s contribution, much of which is “in-kind” (phone-banking, door-knocking, etc.), but it does give an idea of the huge gulf between labor and business money going to the Democrats. Even if the totals obtained from labor and liberal ideological groups are combined, they still accounted for only about 8 percent of Obama’s total haul, for funds that CPR could assign to an industry or sector. See Open Secrets website here.

8. See the superdelegate tally in the Green Papers here.

9. As of late August, 2015, the Clinton camp claimed the public support of 130 superdelegates and the private commitment of 440 superdelegates. See Mark Halperin and Jennifer Epstein, “Clinton Camp Says One-Fifth of Delegates Secured for Nomination,” Bloomberg Business Week, August 28, 2015. According to published reports, as of October 2015, Sanders has the commitment of at least three superdelegates: a DNC member from Maine, and Progressive Caucus Reps. Raul Grijalva (Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (Minn.).

10. Lance Selfa, The Democrats: A Critical History (Haymarket Books, 2012), 210-211.

11. For an example see Jacob Swenson-Lengyel, “Why Radicals Like Bernie Sanders Should Run as Democrats, Not Independents,” In These Times, May 13, 2015.

12. Kevin Phillips, “Reagan’s America: A Capital Offense,” The New York Times Magazine, June 7, 1990.

13. Selfa, The Democrats, 63-85.

14. Selfa, The Democrats, 166-198.

15. Eugene V. Debs, “Outlook for Socialism in the United States,” International Socialist Review, September 1900.

16. Dean made this statement on NBC’s Meet the Press on May 22, 2005.

17. Lance Selfa, “The left Democrat mirage,” Socialist Worker.

18. See Thomas Ferguson and Joel Rodgers, Right Turn: The Decline of the Democrats and the Future of American Politics (Hill & Wang, 1986), 31, 37 on the McGovern campaign.

19. Adolph L. Reed, Jr., The Jesse Jackson Phenomenon: The Crisis of Purpose in Afro-American Politics (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1986), 14–15.

20. Guardian [US], April 30, 1986, 15.

21. Max Elbaum’s Revolution in The Air (Verso, 2006) tells this story.

22. Connor Jones, “If Bernie Sanders Runs for President, It Won’t Be as an Independent: ‘I will not be a Spoiler’,” In These Times, January 16, 2015.

23. Robert Scheer, “Bernie Blew It: He Sold Out Instead of Confronting Clinton,” Truthdig, October 16, 2015. In the debate, Sanders agreed with Clinton that an NSA whistleblower should suffer legal consequences: “He did—he did break the law, and I think there should be a penalty to that. But I think what he did in educating us should be taken into consideration before he is …” From the New York Times’ transcript of the debate.

24. Bruce Dixon, “Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders, Sheepdogging for Hillary and the Democrats in 2016,” Black Agenda Report, June 6, 2015.