Why does Ilhan Omar support Bernie Sanders

Sectarianism is not a solution

Bernie Sanders as a presidential candidate failed, but his project did not. The politician who consistently used the slogan of his campaign “Not me, Us” in his speeches in reverse and said “We, not me”, was always a movement politician. He explained that power is always "built from below", only seeing himself as an "organizer in chief". Sanders made mistakes that will be discussed intensively over the next few weeks and months.

But he leaves behind tens of thousands of re-politicized, thousands of trained activists and organizers and people who have had experiences that will do it even better next time. The children of the "political revolution" also include the young left-wing stars such as Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They will carry on, as everyone else in the Bernie camp should do - beyond the election of Sanders in the pending primaries (where he will continue to be on the ballot paper to help the negotiating position of him and the left wing at the party conference in Somer to improve).

Many Sanders fans sincerely love their "Bernie"; they are now utterly disappointed. But retreating either into private life or into sectarian left-wing micro-parties and groups or to an election by the US Greens, as some are discussing online, would be wrong. It is not only wrong because it could actually allow Donald Trump to be re-elected.

It is not only wrong because leftists of all stripes have repeatedly tried unsuccessfully for decades to found third parties and the institutional structure of US electoral law makes this virtually impossible. It is also wrong because this time - unlike in 2016 - the establishment was not surprised, but prepared, has used all its might against Sanders and nevertheless almost lost to a new left-wing social-democratic mass movement in the most powerful capitalist country in the world. But politics is tough, dirty and moody. With a little luck it could have turned out differently.

But the Sanders campaign has its good side too: Marie Newman, a Medicare For All supporter in Illinois, won her primary election in March. In 2016, the progressive Democrat lost her primary to a conservative Democrat. Now she will probably move into the US House of Representatives.

All over the US there are progressive Democrats who are running in the pending primaries and need help, from the "school board to the US Congress," as Sanders himself explained in the farewell video of his campaign. They need the small donations and the help in the doorstep election campaign by the desperate and highly motivated Bernie Bros and Sandernistas. Because at the local level, the Sanders strategy of increasing the turnout of marginalized and young people, of the poor and workers in order to vote for left-wing politicians is very promising.

Also read: Since the demise of Bernie Sanders' campaign, many Americans have joined the left-wing activist organization DSA

Anyone who wants to change the politics of the Democratic Party and see to it that the next Bernie Sanders "comes through" has to build institutional power in the party - that is, continue to nominate left-wing candidates at all levels and ensure that they are elected. Progressive Democrats have done this successfully for the past two years in New York or Virginia, for example. You have made up ground against the "machine" that repeatedly produces candidates like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden and supports them with all their might. Institutional power can also be built up strategically and on the fringes of the party, for example in the form of the Democratic Socialists of America, who organize independently, also pursue protest policy and union organizing, but still allow members to stand on the Democratic ballot.

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