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.
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.
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.
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