Right About Bernie
This campaign season has been a continued crucible for those of us that consider ourselves Progressives on Team Bernie. We have seen an onslaught of press, tweets and posts painting the most Progressive senator in the country as a sexist, racist, anti-Semite, out-of-touch, looney, etc. The list seems to continue to grow as he stays in the race and withholds his endorsement of one Hillary Rodham Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for POTUS.
From the beginning of this run, Bernie was in it to pull the conversation, thus the Overton Window, to the left. He has done that in a way that no one could have seen possible from where we were, as a country, a year ago. Many see this as “just words.” I see it as changing what is politically possible by broadening acceptable rhetoric. A mirror image of what Herr Trump is doing on the right to the detriment of the entire nation, perhaps the world. These are separate brands of populism.
Populism is on the rise around the world. It is a rising tide against global neoliberal-driven poverty and inequality. It can be roughly split into two camps: Left (fair trade, better wages, education, healthcare, etc.) and Right (racism, xenophobia, anti-immigration, etc.). Obviously, because people are complicated there is overlap in a lot of these areas. The tide continues to rise. Elites can only hope to stem the flow. Because the global elites thrive when the little guys are at each other’s throats, the Right populism is much more attractive in the short term. But, it can backfire (see: Brexit). Here in the U.S., we have somehow decided that the Left brand of populism is less attractive than neoliberalism, which ironically is what got us into the current situation of global inequality and poverty on steroids. Whether they select the Right or suppress the Left, the result is the same. The Right becomes ascendant. That is our fault.
Left populism brings people of all walks together – the largest of tents. This populism is anathema to neoliberalism. It says that all individuals deserve a good life and opportunity, no matter where they start or under what circumstances. Elitism disguised as meritocracy will no longer suffice. True meritocracy levels the playing field. This group wants an end to sacrifice zones in our society and economy. I am a proud member of this populist movement.
Bernie Sanders is now the American general of this movement on the battlefield of ideas. The Love Train is barreling down the track. As time goes on, all of us that are on this ride are proven more and more correct.
Racism & Bernie Bros
Every movement has a**holes. The Political Revolution is no different. Many consider me among them. I can live with that. The Bernie Bro narrative has been used to devastating effect. It was used to drive a wedge between People of Color and Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders. It was so effective that Black voters selected one of the architects of the miserable Clinton domestic policy record over a confirmed Civil Rights advocate and supporter of Jesse Jackson in his run for the White House. I never believed that Team Bernie was full of racists. Reuters recently conducted a poll on racial attitudes in the camps of several candidates in 2016 race for the White House. The results were entirely predictable:
The least racist camp is Team Bernie. Anyone shocked by this was never actually paying attention. They chose to accept what was wrong in order to comfort themselves about supporting Queen Hillary and the horrendous Clinton record concerning the African-American community. They were wrong.
Progressivism and the Democratic Party Platform
If you understand the history of the Democratic Party, you know the party has been moving right since Carter. The largest leaps were under +
— Michael Graham (@BLUpfront) June 19, 2016
The Dems have long been moving to the right in politics and policy. The Clintons were the biggest force in pushing the party toward big money and away from the people. The recent platform fight has been full of fireworks courtesy of Team Bernie. The current draft is very progressive. Especially, on economics.
But, people outside the Bernie camp won’t inform you that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the Big Joker of economic policy. It can override state & Federal law – $15 minimum wage, Single Payer, Breaking Up the Banks, etc. If a multinational deems a particular legislation against their interests, they can appeal to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals to change laws and extract a financial penalty from sovereign nations, including the United States. Wouldn’t you know it, language against the TPP got voted down by DNC and Clinton loyalists? Shocked.
Honesty & Trustworthiness
Many anti-Bernie people will say that you can’t trust the “old White man.” If a man has been consistent for 40 years in word and deed, you should trust him. This is not to say he is perfect or a messiah of any sort. Just a man of his word. That is the record.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has been on every side of every issue at one point or another. She has been dishonest about this entire email scandal. This is just an example. I could go all day. The saddest part is watching people that consider themselves enlightened, or nominally Progressive defend her at every turn – throwing logic to the wind.
Ultimately, we were right about Bernie AND Hillary the entire time.