We need a new party for the 42% of unaffiliated voters


This is based on the interview that I did with The Real News Network a few hours after I listened Bernie Sanders endorse Hillary Clinton. As someone who worked hard as a volunteer for Bernie, it was a difficult moment. These are my thoughts about it.

When Bernie Sanders entered the primary as a Democratic candidate, we knew that he was going to have limitations on what he can say and what he can do. There are only so many moves you can make on this chessboard that Bernie’s been forced to play. So, I don’t hold it against him that the end of the line was that he was checkmated and he had to make this endorsement.

I think what he’s saying to his supporters is we have a choice between nativism of Trump and his supporters and neoliberal economic policies of Clinton and her supporters. We don’t have a lot of good options in the context of the general election. This is why the movement part is so important. We have to keep building on what Bernie has done and keep pushing Clinton to the extent that we can.

At least we can talk to Hillary Clinton. We can’t talk to Donald Trump. We can keep pushing her and hold her accountable; we don’t have a way of holding Donald Trump accountable. So there is a very big difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

However, I think Bernie has made it very clear that Clinton does represent the interest of the billionaires. She will continue the oligarchy which must be unraveled. Undoing the oligarchy is going to take longer than the span of this election.

I think we should be very respectful to Bernie Sanders, and very grateful to him. I believe he performed a political miracle in America with his campaign. At the same time, we have to act independently of Bernie Sanders and do what we feel is right for our country. Bernie doesn’t speak for the entire progressive movement because that movement preexisted his campaign.

There’s room for both people who will work within the Democratic Party structure and for people to work outside of that structure. We always need an inside-outside strategy. We all know that a certain number of people will leave the Democratic Party because of the outcome of this primary. Many of Bernie’s supporters are Independents who participated as Democrats just to support Bernie, but there’s no loyalty to the party for them.

There will be protests going into the convention and after, especially around money in politics, the primary process, TPP, and fracking. I believe that it’s a very healthy thing for our democracy for people to organize nonviolent protests. I think more voices need to be heard.

Regardless of how people voted during this primary, the one thing many can agree on is this: the two-party system is broken. This is why 42% of Americans (as of 2015) identify as Independent or unaffiliated. Imagine organizing a new party with this group. Indeed, this is a good time to think about starting new parties. Of course, this can’t be done in time for the 2016 election. But going forward, we all know that America needs more choices than what the two major parties offer. I think Bernie himself would welcome this outcome.

I look forward to discussing what we can do change our political process from within and without. This is why a group of us created Save Main St. We need more intelligent, articulate voices discussing our problems and potential solutions heading into this election and beyond.

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Annabel Park

Annabel Park is the founder of Save Main St, a documentary filmmaker and an activist.