This zine – while rooted in the 2016 election and the campaign by Democratic Party candidate Bernie Sanders – analyzes the ways in which electoral politics serve to weaken social movements and struggles. It engages with the idea that electoral politics can serve as some sort of “gateway drug” whereby radicals can engage with supporters of a particular candidate and draw them into a movement or radical politics. As the zine argues, this never happens and after the leftist candidate de jour ultimately fails to both win and “bring people into a movement”, most of their supporters fall out of politics. The zine provides both an analysis of the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016 – which many radicals (and sadly even some anarchists) supported – as well as an overview of similar efforts in U.S. history. Hopefully the lessons of the Sanders campaign can serve once and for all to bury the idea that electoral politics has anything to offer.
Electoral Politics are not a “Gateway Drug”
Electoral activism and class struggle are two different worlds, and while it would be unfair to say that there is no overlap, it is fair to say that there is not much overlap. More importantly, electoral activism tends not to push people toward anything other than more electoral activism. Bernie failed? Try harder next time. Run local candidates. Support the Green Party.