I came across an article this morning that I can’t stop thinking about.
What we know from history is that someone always shows up to harvest this level of ambient rage — but it can go in two directions. If people can be made “angry at the crime,” as Steinbeck wrote, there can be huge positive political changes. During the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt and unions organized the anger and used it to create the New Deal and the largest middle class in history. In unluckier countries, like Germany, Italy and Japan, the political left failed. The fury was organized by fascists, and directed at innocents.
There had to be a moment in the 1930s when the Great Depression was brand new. An infant. When it seemed as if everything might continue the way it felt as though it always had, a soon as the hard stuff was over.
‘Always’, of course, isn’t real. There isn’t an always. Life is volatile, it just moves so slowly that we forget. But we get so used to the way we do things that it seems impossible that they even can change profoundly for very long.
Anyway. There had to be that moment, the last time the world economy faced what it’s facing now, when it must have seemed temporary. And another moment when it became clear that it wasn’t.
And in that moment there was anger. And that anger was real.
The anger this time will be real, too.
It’s already bubbling and it was before the CoronaVirus was a thing, before the economy collapsed. All you need to do is look at things like ‘cancel culture’ and the growing divide between the right and the left, the rich and everyone else.
The political left in the US is failing. It’s being crushed by a current president who is so stunningly incompetent that all anyone outside his base can think about is getting him out of the White House.
It’s being undermined by the Democratic establishment that has convinced it’s party that the best way to accomplish that goal is to choose a candidate that Republicans might want to vote for.
Because if some Republicans vote for our guy, we’ll win, right? That tactic didn’t work in 2016. It won’t work this time.
But it’s what’s going on and as a result, Americans are very likely going to have a choice between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in November. A criminally terrible president and a man whose entire platform seems to be the idea that he isn’t Donald Trump.
We don’t have an FDR this time around. And I don’t know about you, but that scares me.
I want our president to be successful.
Even Donald Trump, as opposed to him as I am. His success is America’s success, after all. His success right now, in the middle of a pandemic and a financial collapse, is desperately needed.
While he’s president, I hope that he figures out a way to succeed. If he doesn’t, people will die.
And if Joe Biden is the nominee in November, I’ll vote for him. I think as a platform ‘I’m not Trump’ kind of sucks, but it’s at least the truth.
But there’s a progressive candidate still in the mix. One who has been advocating for exactly what America desperately needs right now. A liberal candidate who is running on the idea that America can do better.
And one who, maybe, can consolidate our rage — the rage that hasn’t even fully realized yet — to productivity rather than ugliness.
I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter and I have been since 2016.
But this goes beyond my personal political bent. It will be a massive mistake for the Democratic party to nominate a candidate who pretty much no one is particularly excited about.
It is a not a good idea to nominate a candidate who at least isn’t Donald Trump and who at least has promised to not run for a second term and who at least is familiar and nostalgic. I’m not convinced that candidate can actually win the general election.
I get it. You’re tired of the fight. You just want a mulligan. You want to press reset and go back to normality for a minute. This doesn’t feel like the time for revolution.
Forget about revolution.
If your state hasn’t had its primary yet, and you still have the option when the time comes, vote for the candidate who is least likely to drive the inevitable anger that’s coming into the darkest possible place.
I think that candidate is Bernie Sanders. I don’t know what his incredibly narrow path to the White House looks like right now — except that it obviously involves votes. Use your voice. It’s not too late.
Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is an out-of-place Nevadan living in Northwestern PA with her husband, three superstar kids, two dementia patients, a good friend, Alfred the cat, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation and the upcoming novel The Astonishing Maybe. She is the original Ninja Writer.