Thursday, April 28, 2016

BERNIE SANDERS CAN STILL WIN, IF...

Senator Bernie Sanders knew from the beginning that his bid for the Democratic nomination for POTUS was a long shot. His early remarks, before he officially declared himself a candidate, were more about pushing the Democratic Party to the left by running, rather than actually winning. I think he was surprised, as were many of us, by the amount of support he has had from voters, especially the younger generation. For awhile, it looked like Bernie might actually have a chance to beat the Democratic establishment political machine; now that possibility is all but gone.

However, I still think Bernie can win. He can win if, and only if, the people who so vociferously support him stay in the political game during and after the 2016 election.

The Bernie movement is a political revolution. The movement is criticized by the establishment for being focused on one theme: the inequality of those with lots of money and those without. But the reality is that this huge (or yuge) and growing wealth gap IS the major problem in the United States, and it affects everything in our society. The projected outcomes of this expanding wealth gap are getting more obvious.

Big money rules everything. A recent post on my blog was about a research report that found corporations and their lobby groups are very successful getting legislation passed at the federal level, while citizens and citizen lobbying groups are not successful. In other words, the power in government is in the hands of big money; citizens have no political power.

Elections, such as the current race for the presidency, are based on big money. Sanders points to Clinton's ties to big money, which are many, as a symptom of the problem. A recent fund-raiser for Clinton and the Democratic Party hosted by the actor George Clooney was a big money event; seats at the main table cost over $350,000 each. Clooney himself told an interviewer that this is obscene; however, that's the way things work, and until campaign financing is changed, well, that's the way it has to be.  Until when? Well, until a political movement with Bernie Sanders' values gains political power.

And this is how Bernie can still win. If the Bernie supporters go away after his candidacy ends, if they turn their backs on politics out of disappointment or anger, then Bernie's efforts were for naught. "Bernie or Bust" isn't a political strategy, it is political suicide. Instead, a Bernie Movement, or let's call it building a Democratic Socialist Party in the United States is where the Bernie Revolution needs to go. Young voters need to work at the local level, state level, and federal level to build a political revolution that addresses and ends the rule of big money in this country.

This doesn't mean the end of capitalism and big business; it means the end of government of, by and for the super wealthy class. It means social justice. It means living-wage jobs doing meaningful work. It means housing available for everyone, and at affordable rates. It means working together as a society to slow down the rate of climate change. It means educational opportunity for everyone. In other words, it means Bernie Sanders' platform of common sense politics.

The dark side of this election cycle is the Trumpization of American politics. Donald Trump is, unfortunately, not just a quirk. Trump represents the resentful and fearful feelings of more than 10 million people who have voted for him to date in the primaries. And these people, and their brand of politics will not go away anytime soon. In fact, I fear that if a President Illary Clinton continues the business as usual establishment politics of the Democratic Party, something I predict she will do, the Trump people will only gain more strength. This is because the business as usual politics of the Dems does not address the core issues in our society that Bernie and Trump talk about, from very different perspectives, of course. A continuation of the big money politics in America clearly does not lift the majority of Americans out of the stagnation they have been in for so long.

So yes, Bernie Sanders can be the eventual winner in this election cycle if, and only if, the young voters who have been energized by Bernie stay in the game. The first thing they need to do is be certain our next President is Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump. Second, they need to hold Clinton's feet to the fire and not let her immediately jump back to the center, which she is already drifting towards, now that Bernie's challenge has been beaten back. Third, and most importantly, young people, and oldsters like me who still have breath in them, need to build on what Bernie started. Build a movement, a political party, united around core principles of democratic socialism, and slowly take back our government from the big money class.

Feel the Bern! And take to heart the words of Joe Hill (google him): "Don't mourn; organize."

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