El Quemazon: the “Bernie or Bust!” Challenge.




quemazon bernie

I didn’t make it to the May 1st march that took place in Anaheim, but I attended an afternoon meeting to elect delegates for the Democratic convention, in Fullerton. I thought that the delegates were for both presidential candidates but not, it was only to choose Bernie delegates. The place was packed,  holy mole, that was a lot of people! Then I thought that maybe the meeting was for the entire county, but it was for the congressional district area only, and I was in the wrong district…so I ended up going to Garden Grove.

Scan0004This place was also packed, and as in Fullerton, as soon as I stepped into the room people were handling me flyers to vote for them. I was impressed with the number of young people and their enthusiasm. In Garden Grove there were more Latinos including a councilmember from Santa Ana, and I even met another Chilean, in all the places! The only person I knew was our friend Lou Noble, who was manning one of the registration tables, but I did not see any of the activists who scare the hell out of you know who, the Teddy Bear guy. I had another holy mole/chingado moment, oh no, they may be supporting Hillary.

About 20 candidates, the majority of them young people, had a minute to speak, and my goodness, they can speak!  Most of them ended up their speeches stating or emphasizing: Bernie or Bust!

These caucuses reminded me that the ground for alternatives to the predominant political forces is considerable.  I had been getting resigned that in spite of demographic and party registration changes, the county would remain a conservative stronghold, either in the traditional Republican form or the hybrid version including some Democrats.

My conservative friends think that the core of their principles is better than that of liberals or progressives, especially those conservatives involved in the Good Government movement, fighting what they call the “kleptocratic”distortion of conservatism. They disdain the indirectly city subsidized Chamber of Commerce online mouthpiece, run by the Teddy Bear character, which declares itself the bastion of conservative values and tries to frighten its readers over a “liberal” takeover of Anaheim.


The Orange County GOP congressional delegation has already jumped onto Trump’s train. Will local officials do the same? Will their need for party unity force them to do so? If they do, perhaps they will mitigate the “existential threat,” that  according to some many of us feel about a Trump regime. If many scholars of American politics’ arguments are characterized by a “distinct note of surprise and disbelief about the lasting power of conservatism” then I no longer feel discouraged by the challenges we face in this county.

KenThe “Bernie or Bust” movement is a dilemma for me though, if Sanders is not the nominee.  How do we create jobs, raise wages, protect the environment and provide health care for all?  How do we get big money out of politics, make college tuition and debt free, how do we implement a fair and humane immigration policy?  How do we take on the enormous economic and political power of the billionaires?  The political will, the vision, and the political reality is a hard equation to match, especially when the GOP may unify behind a pronounced bigot and racist .

I will cast my vote for Bernie and Bao in the primary, and I count on the delegates at the convention to make a wise decision.  I hope that the young people that has been inspired by Bernie will not have to throw chairs at the Democratic establishment, that they will experience a fair and transparent process, and continue to be engaged in this political revolution.

About Ricardo Toro

Anaheim resident for several decades. In addition to political blogging, another area of interest is providing habitats for the Monarch butterfly. http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2013/12/caterpillars-crossing-in-a-city-at-a-crossroads/