Thursday, July 2, 2015

Could Bernie Sanders Win It All? YES!

"The Ron Paul of the left": Why Bernie Sanders is the cranky socialist 2016 needs
Recall that in earlier posts I indicated that I believed - like many Lefties- that Bernie Sanders primary benefit in entering the presidential race was in keeping Hillary honest, and making her defend her left flank.  In my April 30th post, for example, I had written:

Make no mistake that Sen. Bernie Sanders - who will be running as another Democratic candidate (making it clear 3rd party candidates have no chance given the duopoly)-  has no more chance of winning a presidential contest than well......extraterrestrials landing and kicking the Neolib mutts in D.C. out and setting up a new ET government.

Well, Lefty followers will be happy to learn I no longer believe that. Given the massive crowds Bernie has been getting - such as over 10,000 in Madison, Wisconsin last night - I believe if he plays the long game and catches a few breaks, he can knock off the Neoliberal Hillary. While Neoliberal blogs like Politico and Buzzfeed largely treat Sanders as a joke, and the corporate MSM barely mentions him at all  - more astute political observers have noticed his campaign catching fire.

Forget about the media's stupid preconceptions, those with eyes to see and ears to hear know deep down, as one wit once put it, "Americans are suckers for the truth". Bernie is catching fire not out of temporary public fascination but because he's speaking the truth about inequality. His speeches, even though often brimming with data, have struck a chord with those ground under by the wealthiest. Those working 50 plus hours a week and not getting overtime, or those paid minimum wage so that they have no disposable income to even buy a car or pay off student loans.

Sanders stands for bold vision, and has shared that vision with supporters, and as we know where there is no vision the people perish. His vision includes a path out of the stupendous college debt ruining young lives, as well as expansion of Social Security as opposed to cutting it. He knows things will get worse for the elderly and they will need all the financial support they can get. He knows the recently graduated students also need help, or they may never be able to get on their own feet to gain true independence.

Of course, Sanders' crowds and his recent showing in the polls (NH and IA) have Hillary's minions and surrogates worried - as well as the Neoliberal Wing of the Party with its ties to Wall Street. Only last week I noted the attack on Sanders by HRC surrogate Claire McCaskill, who insisted Bernie was "too extreme" for America. I skewered her crap in that post, e.g.

McCaskill actually had the nerve to conflate Sanders with Pat Buchanan who roused large crowds in 1992 with his racist, exclusionary message of "America for Americans" - not too dissimilar to what Trump is peddlng now. Of course there is no comparison which is why McCaskill's pathetic shots fell flat.

Are Sanders' positions extreme? HELL NO! They only appear so given this country's ominous rightward drift where anything that smacks of older social verities and values is tagged "communistic". Salon's Matthew Pulver put it best:

"Sanders’ domestic economic platform, his campaign’s bread and butter, is mostly a return to mid-century, postwar policies, infused with social democratic ideas from places like Sweden, where social democrats gained a majority in parliament 75 years ago.

What Sanders proposes is not new, and it’s not particularly radical. It’s just radical-seeming given our decades-long turn toward hyper-capitalism and neoliberalism "

He goes on to point out that Sweden, that bastion and source of so many of Sanders' "horrific" socialist ideas, has been responsible for none other than IKEA, Spotify, Skype and other notable innovations - plus having one of the best educational systems in the world. With our "every man for himself" capitalism can we claim to have done as well? I doubt it when one factors in all the inequality!

Those of us who've remained centered in our political values and orientation have seen the decades' long drift most clearly. We've watched aghast as decade after decade has passed and people's minds have been fucked over and over by the media and pundits, causing them to change their own positions rather than hold fast. I, of course, have unapologetically held fast which is why I remain - as Rachel Maddow put it two nights ago - an "unreconstructed liberal". Of course, to most of the idiots today who've allowed themselves to be moved rightward, I come over as a "commie".  Which is more an indictment of their retardation of historical perspective and ignorance than anything else. And also an indicator of the degree to which their minds have been colonized by false consciousness sown by a shameless PR-dominated media.

Anyway, what primary breaks does Bernie need to pull this off?

1) He needs Elizabeth Warren to come out to endorse his candidacy. This will do wonders to get more women voters to pay attention as opposed to remaining blind followers of Hillary, mostly because of the single-minded gender obsession to get the "first woman President". While that goal is noble, it should not trump the priority that we need to change direction away from the Neoliberal ascendancy. Hence, having the "first female President" but with her agenda likely grounded in Neoliberalism, is no grand achievement. The fact that Hillary surrogates are attacking Sanders over his truly liberal positions that address inequality discloses his vision is the right one.

2) More prominent black voices need to endorse Sanders. Cornell West has already voiced support but not wholeheartedly. One would also like to see Michael Eric Dyson and others come forward since so far the African-American response to Sanders has been tepid - despite the fact his policies would more clearly assure social advance for African -Americans than Hillary's Neoliberal, pro -Wall Street policies.
If these two elements materialize, the Sanders' campaign can really catch fire, much like Obama's did in 2008 when he came out of the blue to overtake Hillary then.  So yes, history can repeat. If enough people believe it can and show by their actions and votes they finally want to change the nation's Neoliberal tilt.

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