Bernie Sanders. Time to Rally Like its 2004 Again

He’s a long shot in a political horse race and his detractors will try to smear his middle class policies with references to socialism but supporting a Bernie Sanders candidacy only ensures the political narrative beginning to ramp up will push the other candidates in both parties to address the serious problems created by the income disparity in this country.  Disparities that have shrunk our once potent and proud middle class.

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Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has thrown his hat into the presidential race with many dismissing him in the shadow of Hillary Clinton and GOP candidates who will invoke Barack Obama in their campaigns more than offer policy solutions.  That means Sanders, a true progressive can easily open the debate that the other candidates will shrink from – class warfare.

The voting public is becoming more conscious about the power of the wealthy 1% who set policy in Washington while the status of working class families becomes one of powerlessness.  What remains to be seen is will the corporate media give Sanders equal time and balanced perspective or will they undermine him with the slightest irrelevancy as they did another Vermont contender for the presidency back in 2004 – Howard Dean.

Unlike the candidacy of Barack Obama many of us didn’t look deeply enough at, closer scrutiny will reveal that Bernie Sanders is no empty suit and appears willing to stride toward goals that Obama only half-stepped through at times.  Granted, eight years of a dysfunctional Bush/Cheney administration made anyone look good back in 2008 but Sanders really is a legitimate contender whose credentials are solid.  A recalcitrant Congress with GOP leadership will naturally obstruct a Sanders presidency as it did with Obama’s but Bernie seems less likely to play nice with issues the GOP may find distasteful but are popular with the public.

We now have someone in the hunt that will speak unequivocally about issues important to Main Street Americans like strengthening and expanding Social Security, supporting a single payer health care plan, advocating consumer protection legislation, tougher rules for Wall Street and sane gun control measures, especially background checks on all purchases along with limiting sales of assault style weapons.

“I am a socialist and everyone knows that.  They also understand that my kind of democratic socialism has nothing to do with authoritarian communism.”  Bernie Sanders after winning his bid to a congressional House seat in 1990

Though Bernie doesn’t mind the label of “socialist” his politics are similar to FDR’s, Harry Truman’s, Jack Kennedy’s and yes, even LBJ’s.  Many Americans are unaware of the relationship we benefitted from following WWII between socialism and capitalism which created the greatest middle class in human history.   As my friend Steve Ruis over at his Class Warfare blog points out “Both systems are flawed, so why not take the best of both?”

Conservatives will invoke the negative aspect of socialism in only the misrepresented way they can but Sanders will openly invite this tactic because if he plays it right he can expose the plutocratic persona that is deeply embedded in GOP politics these days.   The laissez-faire, free-market crowd has spent millions over the years promoting the paranoia that anything “social” is an evil to be avoided and it has benefited them in infiltrating and completely controlling the Party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower.  Today’s GOP now walks in lock step with millionaires and billionaires who pursue policies that hurt the middle class as they eliminate competition in the market. 

This alone should persuade many people to seriously consider a Sanders candidacy.  The man is not now nor has he ever been in the back pocket of wealthy special interests.  The last five presidents could not pass a polygraph test if they were to make a similar claim.  The same can also be said about all 2016 GOP candidates as well as his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

But he’s not a man of God!

What about the litmus test of the religious right?  Could this automatically eliminate a candidate who doesn’t wear his religion on his shoulders in today’s theocratic atmosphere?  Sanders is Jewish by birth though he’s not a religious Jew.  Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition gave the Vermont senator a zero on their most recent scorecard.  But Sanders, a fan of Pope Francis identifies closely with the views of the  popular Roman Catholic leader.  And though he has often been critical of the Jewish state and boycotted Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent speech to Congress, “Sanders has also stood up to constituents who vilify Israel and defend Hamas, the U.S.-designated terrorist group that calls for the destruction of Israel.”  This could play well with the End Timers who want to usher in Armageddon.

Besides, attempting to impress people with your religious bona fides may have lost much of its punch after George W. Bush proved that his God of love and compassion seemed controlled by his evil alter ego.

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The religious right will of course oppose a Sanders presidency but people of faith in general can easily be won over with the separation of Church and State that Sanders advocates.  Unless a red-blooded born-again, evangelical style Republican wins the nomination, like a Huckabee or Santorum, many in the religious right camp may stay home election day rather than support any other Republican candidate.  The GOP is not held in the high esteem it once was with the religious right, recognizing they’ve been used by the GOP for years without ever gaining much of what they desperately wanted on issues of abortion, homosexuality and birth control.

Along the same lines Sanders is not popular with the Right to Life crowd.   His perfect score of 100 from the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America may have something to do with this.   The anti-abortionists have already weighed in on his “six percent pro-life voting record” without realizing that Sanders’ record on life supporting issues beyond the womb would overshadow any attempt to dictate the choices women and teens need to make when faced with an unwanted pregnancy.

Where the pro-life movement would see abortion as murder many of them would ignore the need to provide a secure and healthy environment once the child is born under conditions that are equally threatening to their life.  Affordable health care, food stamps and access to child care for working mothers are political issues that address the blight of poverty opposed by many conservatives who fight to close down abortion clinics.

The editor of the pro-life Baptist Standard,  Marv Knox, notes in my home state of Texas something that is consistent across those conservative states composed of higher percentages of Bible-believing Christians.

Since the moral impetus for reducing, if not eliminating, abortions is advocacy for life, then Texans should demonstrate our support for these babies. When you examine many of our current practices and policies, you understand why outsiders claim Texans are more concerned about fetuses than babies, children and teenagers. (emphasis mine)
Texas is among the nation’s leaders in child poverty, teen pregnancy, dropout rates and illiteracy. We’re also among the nation’s lowest-spending states on child poverty, teen pregnancy, dropout rates and illiteracy.
If Texans’ conservative moral values prompt our state to implement one of the nation’s most stringent abortion codes, then we should accept the responsibility for all those babies we will bring into the world. We need to do right by them.   SOURCE

It is this pro-life standard that Bernie Sanders represents and deserves as much recognition for, if not more so, than those who merely attempt to stop women from giving birth to children they are ill-prepared to support .

And though voters on both sides decry the crony capitalism that contaminates our politics many will still vote for status quo candidates who wound up filling agency heads and cabinet positions with people who are beholding to the industries they are assigned to regulate.  It’s a revolving door between K Street and the U.S. Capital.  Under a Sanders presidency it is highly likely that you’ll see a Wall Street in balance with Main Street rather than them having dominion over it.

We need someone who will unflinchingly support the science of climate change from day one and is willing to act on it as many other heads of state around the world are willing to do, not the denialism of pseudo-science hacks whose source of income depends on the fossil fuel industry’s claims.  Watch the money that opposes Sanders.  It will largely come from the finite dirty sources of coal, oil and gas because they know Sanders will fight to end their lucrative federal subsidies and their claims to exploit public, pristine lands for a few more years of toxic energy sources.

And finally, Senator Sanders unequivocally knows, as do most Americans, that corporations are not people and money is not speech.  Where perpetrators of financial fraud that caused the economic collapse in 2008 got away with little more than a slap on the wrist with insignificant fines a Sanders Justice Department is more likely to hand out prison sentences for financial malfeasance with those banks too big to fail.  A Sanders presidency would also open the door once again for government and corporate whistleblowers who have lately been under attack by our current Dept. of Justice

Can anyone guarantee that Sanders will live up to everything that been stated here?  No more so  than those who will oppose him for the office of president.  But if we can get a clear picture of what any candidate represents simply by reviewing their past it seems a no-brainer that Bernie Sanders over all others is the least likely to promote the miasmatic standard fare we have been handed over the last few decades.

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GOP values?

Regardless of who the Republicans nominate, they are attached at the hip to a coterie of people who want to drag us back to the 19th century Gilded Age era and Hillary is a right-leaning centrist whose neo-liberal credentials will only ensure that the status quo is little changed.  Both have supported agendas that have reduced the middle class to a condition not seen since the days of the Great Depression.

They’ve supported and continue to support trade agreements and less government oversight of businesses that have sent good paying jobs overseas to cheaper labor markets, fought a minimum wage, opposed labor’s right to bargain for a decent income and working conditions and seek to cut all federal social safety net funds while bilking the taxpayers to keep their own special interests propped up.

Change – real change – is only an ugly word to people who currently benefit from wars, paying low salaries and exploiting the public commons for themselves and their shareholders.  Fear of change is what the status quo relies on, convincing too many of us that it could be worse than it is if we oppose the failed policies of trickle down economics and its empire building foreign policy cousin.

I have nearly always been for the underdog in political campaigns so it should surprise no one to find that my donations, my voice and my vote are with Bernie.

“Sanders’ candidacy is less a test of the power of the populist message – its reach is apparent as even Republicans struggle to address economic inequality – than a test of populist energy and independence.” – Robert Borosage

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14 responses to “Bernie Sanders. Time to Rally Like its 2004 Again

  1. Excellent piece…..Bernie is definitely someone to consider…..and I agree that he will be labeled and it will be ugly especially if his poll number good look. The media has already started the labeling game……hopefully people will look beyond the BS and see his policies are closer to their desires than anyone running so far….

  2. The GOP’s “faith” has lead them to attack poor people, women, science, the environment, people of color, etc. Maybe it is time we had someone like Bernie who believed … in people!

    Nice post, Larry!!

  3. I’m totally behind Bernie, though I’m glad he’s running as a Democrat. Hopefully that might avoid another Nader fiasco. I think his chances of winning the nomination are about equal with that snowball in hell, but he might just nudge Hilary a bit in the right (left) direction.

    • “…he might just nudge Hilary a bit in the right (left) direction.”

      That seems to be the prognosis from most political pundits. An upset in the Democratic primary seems unlikely at this point but it is nt an impossibility. How well he frames his message and sets the narrative will impact his candidacy as well as Hillary’s. Could even affect some on the GOP side not wanting to rub it in the face of many working class conservatives.

  4. In early 2013, as an act of contemptuous passive-aggression, I promised not participate in the 2016 Edition of the US Election Industry until….2016! (Imagine that.) All the speculation and horse-racism shoves aside actual news and turns politics into an expensive parlour game for the uber-rich. Participation in it (especially, the pre-game hype) only generates a market demand for more of it.

    That said, I’m going to comment on how much a like a current US Senator, Bernie Sanders. He’s a cantankerous, old, socialist that just doesn’t give a fuck what he looks like or what anybody thinks of him. How could I NOT love that?

    Should it turn out that, when I do start paying attention in January 2016, Bernie Sanders is a candidate for President, I will gladly cheer him on. But not until then.

    • “He’s a cantankerous, old, socialist that just doesn’t give a fuck what he looks like or what anybody thinks of him. How could I NOT love that?”

      I think he reminds most people of their lovable contrarian grandpa.

  5. I like Bernie Sanders, as do many of us on the left, but I hope he doesn’t run as an independent and dilute the progressive vote (think Ralph Nader), enabling your boy Ted Cruz (or some other fool on the right to win in 2016. Maybe we’ll have to settle for Hilary (sigh), and hope for the best.

    • Ralph Nader? No, lets not open that can of worms again. Democrats lost because they are a bunch of spineless losers who couldn’t beat an idiotic failure…even with 2 attempts. Just look at how they spent the last 8 years figuring out how to turn a victory into a loss.

      Nader was in no way responsible for Bush “winning”. In the end, the only vote that mattered belonged to The Supremes. But if you want to blame a 3rd party candidate for Bush, blame right winger, Pat Buchanan. Unlike Nader, his Florida votes (the majority of which weren’t even meant for him) were the only 3rd party votes that wound up meaning anything.

      As always, I take every opportunity to shit on the First-Past-The-Post electoral system both America & Canuckistan use. It hands 100% of the power to whoever finishes first, even if their lead was only 1 vote and they only got 1% of all votes cast. Such a stupid system invariably leads to voters being held at gunpoint, unable to vote their conscience out of fear of an evil enemy winning. In the process, meaningful choice is taken from all.

      • “Nader was in no way responsible for Bush “winning”.”

        I’m not sure I agree with that SM. He got 22,000 votes. The difference between Gore and Bush in Florida was 560 votes. Pretty sure if Nader wasn’t running that most of those 22,000 votes would not have gone for Bush. But it’s possibly true that had Buchannan not been in the race to pull votes away from Bush that there might not have been a Nader-effect

        But you are right that once this thing went to the Supreme Court Bush’s pals made this a win for the man who lost the popular vote

      • Oh, Jesus! Here we go again. I thought I killed this ghost well over a decade ago. Back then, I buried myself in this. I looked up all the stats (never again!) and was completely convinced the only place where Nader might have had ANY effect at all was Florida. But even that effect was VASTLY overrated and of limited importance to begin with. For example, had Gore not somehow LOST HIS HOME STATE of Tennessee, Florida’s outcome wouldn’t have mattered. Even fucking MONDALE won his home state!

        However, since “It’s all about Florida”, here’s what few seriously addressed: How many of those Florida Nader votes actually would have voted for Gore?

        A lot of swing state voters already bailed on Nader from fear of “electing” Bush. (Thanks to the idiotic First-Past-The-Post system.) How many “Nader #1, Gore #2” voters were actually left on election day? First, you’ve got to subtract all the folks who were going to vote Green without Nader. (10-20%?) Then you’ve got to subtract all the Nader voters who would otherwise not vote at all. (I’d say over 50%.) Then you have to figure out who their next choice would be. Quoting exit polls, Nader says just 13% more of his voters would have voted for Gore than for Bush. So what’s 13% of that remaining number? Going from memory, my conclusion was that the number of Florida Nader voters who would have voted for Gore was comparable to, if not smaller, than:

        – the number of people wavering between Bush & Gore in the last days. They were a far more statistically significant number.

        – the number of eligible voters intentionally stripped of their right to vote by Jeb Bush and Bush’s Campaign Co-chair. Those 50,000+ voters were all either black, or from Democratic jurisdictions. Jeb & Co also ensured there would be multiple-hour waits to vote in Democratic territories.

        – the number of liberal, West Palm Beach, Jews who accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan on the Butterfly Ballot. (3,400) Buchanan himself says there’s absolutely NO way even 10% of those votes were meant for him.

        actual Pat Buchanan voters and Libertarian voters that “stole” votes from Bush.

        – the number of Hanging Chads for Gore.

        The truth is that, Nader or not, voter (blocking) fraud by Jeb Bush’s crew or not, GORE STILL GOT THE MOST VOTES!!! The true Florida election results were invalidated by a criminal conspiracy to deny legitimate votes and destroy the evidence as quickly as possible. It was a Florida based, “preemptive coup d’etat” for a guy who went on to launch a preemptive war without end that would

        But this STILL lingering argument is why lefties always lose. They are divided easier than a bunch of teenage girls and are bigger Surrender Monkeys than the French. In short, we’re scared shitless to be lefties. This is not a problem right wingers have. The last 30 years has proven that there’s no limit to how radical they can get and still win. Lefties are so scared, they manage to lose, even after winning.

      • Well when you draw it all out like that SM it is kind of retarded to think that Nader votes alone lost Florida for Gore. The Bush machine was indeed responsible for stolen votes of thousands but the coup d’état was the Supreme Court’s decision to stop the vote counting in that state.

        I think I have learned anther thing too about you with this response. Your screen name Sedate Me suggest the need to suppress a strong rage within you. 😉

        It is of course easier to divide liberals because they often encompass a broad, inclusive agenda. Trying to incorporate how others experience life and fit justice to include the differences doesn’t come easy for those who are comfortable with a status quo that may be broken but feels comfortable. The changing nature of who we are and what does and doesn’t work creates a conundrum for liberals that makes it difficult to nail down a simple banner they can all stand beneath, unlike the extremist on the right who are easy to herd by those suffering from pseudologia fantastica once they introduce inimical concepts of religion and the flag, Ayn Rand babble on free markets and a narrow definition of freedom into their controlling message.

        Life is complex, both dark and promising yet unforgiving. Knowing that becomes a disadvantage for people who insist on using their critical thinking skills against people who have deluded themselves about how we have arrived at this point in human history. Maybe, if we are to survive at all, we are destined to return to the small brain species we originally evolved from.

    • Bernie is running as a Democrat Hans so no Nader effect here. In all likelihood Hillary will get the Democratic nomination and if she does she’ll have my reluctant vote, because the GOP has nothing but crazies and corporate laps dogs running.

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