Wednesday, August 12, 2015

If Bernie Is The Nominee, You Won't Have To Pick Between The Lesser Of Two Evils


Over the weekend, Bernie Sanders spoke to the biggest live crowd any candidate has drawn so far in the election cycle-- 28,000 people in Portland. Monday night his live audience in Los Angeles was 27,000. Right-wingers celebrate when they draw over 100 people. And, unlike Trump, Bernie isn't paying actors $50 each to show up for his events. Hillary hasn't started engaging with crowds of real voters yet. Her events are generally small, controlled, staged and media-oriented or, in most cases, fundraisers among the very wealthy, very much like Jeb Bush's campaign tactics.

Monday Michael Kruse and Manu Raju, writing for Politico, examined the long and often acrimonious relationship between Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Party Establishment. He's been eating the lunch of party bosses for decades. And the Democratic Party-- before realizing they couldn't beat him-- used to demonize him and ruthlessly try to destroy him. The Politico story starts with three old quotes from Bernie from before he and the Democrats reached a truce.
"You don’t change the system from within the Democratic Party."

"My own feeling is that the Democratic Party is ideologically bankrupt." [Bernie completed that thought by adding that the Democratic Party had "no ideology. Their ideology is opportunism."]

"We have to ask ourselves, 'Why should we work within the Democratic Party if we don’t agree with anything the Democratic Party says?'"
Bernie was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont's biggest city, in 1981, running against conservaDem Gordon Paquette. He was reelected three times and the Democrats fought him-- and fought him hard-- each time. And when he ran for Congress in 1990 as a Socialist, the Democrats and Republicans fought him again. He beat the Republican incumbent, Peter Smith, despite a Democrat in the race. 

When he got to Congress, Establishment Democrats wanted nothing to do with him. He started the Congressional Progressive Caucus and won over party liberals-- in DC but not back in Vermont, where the Democratic Party opposed his reelection. By 1988 Democrats had stopped running candidates against him, although a Democrat, Larry Drown, opposed his reelection in 2004 (and took 7.1% of the vote to Bernie's 67.4%). 

When he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2006, the Democratic Party backed him, as they did in 2012. He took 65.4% in 2006 and 71% in 2012 against Republican candidates.
The most surprising thing about the independent Vermont senator’s surprisingly successful campaign so far is not that he’s doing it as a self-described democratic socialist. It’s that he’s seeking the nomination of a party he caucuses with in the Senate but is not a part of, isn’t a registered member of and has never been a registered member of-- a party he’s spent his 40-year career beating at the polls and battering in the press.

...He has never before chosen to run in a Democratic primary, but here he is, challenging Hillary Clinton-- and doing it as an independent, technically permissible but highly unusual. How he’s trying to do this is how he always has-- a calculated alchemy of outsider edge and insider smarts, provocation plus pragmatism, all learned and honed over what’s become a unique career in modern American politics.

“He plays it both ways,” said former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin, a Democrat who once successfully fended off Sanders from the left in a reelection bid. “He wants to be different, and yet he wants to belong—for political purposes.”

Sanders is nipping at Clinton in the polls, for now—but anybody who wants to, like Clinton, her campaign or its associated machinery, can fill fat files with quotes from Sanders in which he denigrates the Democratic Party whose mantle of legitimacy gives him a stature that unaffiliated candidates rarely enjoy.

“Clearly, it’s something he should answer for,” Democratic former Congressman Barney Frank said.

In an interview with Politico on the Senate subway, Sanders didn’t walk away from his criticism of Democrats-- although he insisted he has developed over his long career a strong relationship with the party in Vermont, in Washington and the nation. Asked whether he still believed the party is “ideologically bankrupt,” Sanders answered by not answering the question.

“I think what we have today is, I think, a Republican Party which has moved from a center-right party over the last decades to a right-wing extremist party,” he said, the subway whooshing him from the Capitol to his office. “I think you have a Democratic Party which is not as strong as it should be in standing up for the working class of this country and taking on big-money interests. And that’s been my view for a long time.”

...In an op-ed in the New York Times in January 1989, he called the Democratic and Republican parties “tweedle-dee” and “tweedle-dum,” both adhering in his estimation to an “ideology of greed and vulgarity.”
Bernie supported Mondale over Reagan in 1984 and endorsed Jesse Jackson in the 1988 Democratic primary, although he tepidly supported the eventual nominee, Michael Dukakis, against George H.W. Bush as "the lesser of two evils." But what Kruse and Raju seem to have missed is that part of the reason Bernie is drawing such huge crowds everywhere across the country is precisely because he's not another hack Democrat and that he isn't the only one who is sick and tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. If you are too, this page was made for you.

UPDATE: More Than A Dream

Last night the Boston Herald reported a new poll showing Bernie overtaking Establishment candidate Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. Finally! The poll shows Bernie leading Clinton 44-37% among likely Democratic primary voters, the first time the heavily favored Clinton has trailed in the 2016 primary campaign.
Just 35 percent of likely primary voters say they are "excited" about Clinton’s campaign, according to the poll. And 51 percent of voters say that while they could support her, they aren’t enthusiastic about her White House bid.

And while 80 percent of likely Granite State Democrats view her favorably, just 38 percent of those say they have a "very" favorable impression.

Sanders’ rise has been meteoric. The socialist senator trailed Clinton by a 44-8 margin in a Franklin Pierce/Herald poll in March.

More than half of New Hampshire’s likely Democratic primary voters say they view Sanders "very" favorably, an indication of the excitement the Vermont senator has generated among his mostly liberal supporters.

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At 7:37 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Keep it going Bernie you're campaign is doing a great job. :-)

At 8:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your, not "you're"


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