Tuesday, March 08, 2016

For U.S. Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders, a Resurgency

Bernie Sanders Beats Hillary Clinton
in Stunning Michigan Primary Upset

– Dan Roberts (The Guardian, March 8, 2016)

I continue to remain hopeful and excited about Bernie Sanders and his campaign for the 2016 Democratic party presidential nomination.

This past weekend saw Sanders and his campaign win "Super Saturday," sweeping the Democratic Caucuses in a number of key states. This is especially welcome news after the setbacks of Super Tuesday.

Of course, Sanders isn't perfect. Michael Arria, for example, documents what he calls Sanders' "troubling" support of U.S. military intervention in Kosovo and Afghanistan, and his support of Israel's "assault on Gaza."

Yet I maintain that, overall, of the viable candidates in the running, Sanders offers what the U.S. needs most: a leader refreshingly unbeholden to corporate interests and committed to justice for all.

Why Bernie Sanders and not Hillary Clinton?

The most obvious way that Sanders demonstrates his commitment to justice is through his career-long challenging of crony capitalism and its detrimental impact on U.S. society.

Filmmaker Charles Ferguson provides a helpful historical context to all of this when he notes that the financial elites of the U.S. "are now so corrupt, arrogant and predatory that political leaders [such as Hillary Clinton] who are beholden to them can no longer reliably deliver economic or political security, mush less fairness or progress for the American people."

Continues Ferguson:

American politics is now truly, fundamentally up for grabs for the first time in decades – a hugely exciting but also terrifying prospect [as] American reaction against corruption and decline could bring out our best [as expressed in Sander's democratic socialist ideals, the goals of which are to create a nation of economic and social justice] or our worst [as demonstrated in Republican presidential candidate Donald Tramp's fascist tendencies and authoritarian rhetoric]. The Democratic establishment [maintains that] only a pragmatic, moderate insider [such as Clinton] can get anywhere now. Actually the truth is the opposite. American insider politics is now so corrupt and dysfunctional that nobody within it can get anything done.

The reality is that if one wants to be pragmatic then Bernie Sanders is the candidate to support. Why? Because credible polling has consistently shown him to be the most electable candidate.

A recent CNN/ORC poll, for instance, finds that Sanders holds the most positive favorability rating of any of the top candidates for president: 60% of registered voters view him positively, 33% negatively. He is the only candidate seen favorably by the majority of voters and, according to the numbers, he is the most electable Democrat we've seen in our lifetime. He tops all the Republican candidates with margins much wider than what Clinton holds against them. True, both Clinton and Sanders are ahead of Trump, but Clinton is currently losing to Marco Rubio by 3 points and tying with Ted Cruz. Not so Sanders. He's ahead of Rubio by 8 points and ahead of Cruz by 17 points. Yes, 17 points! This means that if there was a presidential election today between Sanders and Cruz, Sanders would win by a landslide. And he'd take the House and Senate along with him. Clinton, on the other hand, would likely lose to Cruz. So much for establishment pundits' insistence that Clinton is more electable than Sanders. As has been shown, the numbers clearly tell a very different story.

"Like wildfire"

In his March 7 Huffington Post article, "Why Bernie Sanders is the Democratic Party’s Best Hope to Win the White House in November," Tom Weis writes of the exhilaration of watching "the Sanders political revolution spread like wildfire across the land."

Weis also provides a summary of this "revolution," and some insightful commentary on its future.

First came Iowa, where Bernie Sanders shocked the political world by battling Hillary Clinton to a virtual tie after starting the race more than 45 points down. Then came New Hampshire, where Sanders trounced Clinton. Then came Nevada, where Bernie came within 5 points of beating Hillary after starting more than 35 points down. Then it was Clinton’s turn to stomp Sanders in South Carolina. On Super Tuesday, Bernie’s insurgent campaign once again defied the odds by winning four states to Hillary’s seven, including one in the South. Then came Kansas (Sanders), Nebraska (Sanders), Louisiana (Clinton) and Maine (Sanders). Next up are primaries in Michigan and Mississippi. Then come Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Florida.

Not counting superdelegates (who can switch their allegiance anytime), here’s the current rough delegate count: Sanders has 478 to Clinton’s 677. Bernie has some ground to make up, but he clearly has the momentum and a path to victory if voters Feeling the Bern continue to turn out in record numbers.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have never seen Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic nomination. And it’s not just because she suffers from a massive trust deficit. It’s because she is out of touch with the mood of the electorate. Bernie is blazing a hopeful path to the future, while Hillary is wedded to the past. Despite unrelenting opposition by DNC party bosses, political pundits, media elites and the Clinton machine, Bernie’s inspiring “Yes we will” optimism is trumping Hillary’s technocratic “No we can’t” defeatism.

The longer this race goes on, the weaker Hillary gets, because the more voters get to know her, the less they like her. In stark contrast, the more voters get to know Bernie, the more they like him. Even more troubling for Clinton, poll after poll shows Sanders not only beating Hillary nationally, but leading her against all the GOP presidential hopefuls, including Mr. 1%, Donald Trump.

. . . Clinton represents timid incrementalism at a time when the American people are in desperate need of bold transformational change. It is dispiriting to watch the Clintons serially slam the dreams that millions of Americans share with Sanders, dreams that most of the rest of the industrialized world have already achieved.

Far from over

I close with the following links to articles and commentaries highlighting Bernie Sanders resurgency in the far from over presidential primary season.

Super Saturday:
Bernie Sanders Wins Super Saturday, Sweeping the Democratic Caucuses – Brian Hanley (HuffPost Politics, March 6, 2016).
Sanders: "I Think We Have a Path Toward Victory" – Kyle Balluck (The Hill, March 6, 2016).
For 50 Years, Kansas Has Chosen the Democratic Nominee with 100% Accuracy. Bernie Sanders Just Won Kansas – Tyson Manker (Veterans for Bernie, March 6, 2016).
Bernie Sanders Wins Big in NebraskaBerniePost.com (March 5, 2016).
Bernie Sanders Just Won Maine by a 29-point Margin – Jeff Stein (Vox, March 6, 2016).
Bernie Sanders "Wins" Costa Rica in Democrats Global Primary – Zach Dyer (The Tico Times, March 6, 2016).
Clinton Benefits from U.S. Media’s Misleading Reporting of Delegate Counts – Kevin Gosztola (HuffPost Politics, March 7, 2016).
Bernie is Crushing Hillary in a (Real) Primary No One NoticedDaily Kos (March 7, 2016).
Weekend of Bernie's – Huge Maine Victory Caps Resurgency for Sanders – Jon Queally (Common Dreams, March 6, 2016).
Media's Coronation of Clinton Belies Sanders' Path Toward Victory – Deirdre Fulton (Common Dreams, March 8, 2016).
Once People Feel the Bern . . . the Fire Will Not Go Out – Donna Smith (Common Dreams, March 8, 2016).

Sunday's Democratic Candidates' Debate:
Democratic Debate Recap: Clinton and Sanders Battle Over Key Progressive Issues – Alan Yuhas (The Guardian, March 6, 2016).
In Testy Debate, Clinton Echoes Sanders' Anger, But Not Too Much – Margaret Talev and Arit John (Yahoo! Finance, March 6, 2016).
In Democratic Debate, Bernie Sanders Pushes Hillary Clinton on Trade and Jobs – Amy Chozick and Patrick Healy (The New York Times, March 6, 2016).
As Clinton Equivocates on Fracking, Sanders Has One Answer: "No" – Nadia Prupis (Common Dreams, March 6, 2016).
Progressive Lawmakers on Sanders vs. Clinton: Reps. Grijalva & Clarke Respond to Sunday's DebateDemocracy Now! (March 6, 2016).
Sanders Meant to Insult Republicans. He Insulted People with Mental Illness Instead – German Lopez (Vox, March 6, 2016).
Clinton And Sanders Show Republicans What A Real Debate Looks Like – Jonathan Cohn (HuffPost Politics, March 6, 2016).

Other Related Links:
24 Facts About Bernie Sanders and His Presidential Campaign – Will Laws (InsideGov.org, November 20, 2015).
Bernie Gets It Done: Sanders' Record of Pushing Through Major Reforms Will Surprise You – Zaid Jilani (AlterNet, October 17, 2016).
Tulsi Gabbard, Rising Democratic Star, Resigns as a Vice Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee to Endorse Bernie SandersThe New York Times (February 28, 2016).
Iconic Black Activist Angela Davis Favors Sanders for PresidentteleSUR (March 3, 2016).
Economist Robert Reich Endorses Bernie Sanders – Jacqueline Pine (U.S. Uncut, February 27, 2016).
Ta-Nehisi Coates Will Vote for Bernie Sanders Despite the Senator’s Opposition to Reparations – Nathan Wellman (U.S. Uncut, February 10, 2016).
John McCain: Bernie Sanders, Not Hillary Clinton, Has ‘Record of Advocacy’ for Vets – Will Bredderman (Observer, October 28, 2015).
"He's Not for Sale": Sarah Silverman Explains Why She Dumped Hillary Clinton for Bernie Sanders – Brendan Gauthier (Salon, March 5, 2016).
Stunning New Reuters Poll Shows Bernie Sanders Making Huge National Gains – Tom Cahill (U.S. Uncut, February 24, 2016).
Why Bernie Can Win – Matt Karp (Jacobin, February 18, 2016).
The Rise of Bernie Sanders: The U.S. Enters a New Political Era – Thomas Piketty (The Guardian, February 16, 2016).
The Pragmatic Case for Bernie Sanders – Christopher D. Cook (Atlantic, February 15, 2016).
170 Economists Endorse Bernie Sanders' Plan to Reform Wall St. and Rein in Greed – Jason Easley (PoliticusUSA, February 14, 2016).
Bernie Sanders' Foreign Policy Judgment is Better than Clinton's Experience – Trevor Timm (The Guardian, February 6, 2016).
Bernie vs. Hillary: What's a Feminist to Do?
Kshama Sawant (HuffPost Politics, March 2, 2016).
University with 100% Accuracy Record Predicts Bernie Sanders Will Be the Next President of the U.S. – Matt Terzi (Firebrand Left, November 9, 2015).
Here's What Has to Happen for Bernie Sanders to Win – Andrew Prokop (Vox, March 10, 2016).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Super Tuesday Thoughts on Bernie Sanders
Something to Think About – February 22, 2016
Quote of the Day – February 17, 2016
Something to Think About – February 4, 2016
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Democratic Socialism
Something to Think About – December 14, 2011
Quote of the Day – August 17, 2011
Capitalism on Trial

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A little perspective is warranted here.

"As for Sanders, as effective as he has been, he has his own flaws, which turn chiefly on whether he is electable. His partisans point to the general election head-to-head matchups in which he fares as well as, or better than, Clinton against Trump and Cruz and Rubio. But those polls don’t mean much. The Republicans haven’t spent a dollar attacking him yet, and if he were the nominee, they and their affiliated groups would spend between $500 million and $1 billion doing so.

How would he hold up under that barrage? There is his socialist background, the honeymoon trip he and his wife took to the Soviet Union, and all that. But Republicans might not even have to go there. The tax increases that would be entailed by Sanders’s programs, including his Medicare-for-all plan, have recently been shown to be enormous, requiring, according to some estimates, a top marginal tax rate of as much as 84 percent. Sanders argues that the trade-offs he proposes for expanded Medicare—taxes but no deductibles or copayments, not even for dental care and optometry—would save people thousands of dollars a year. In some cases they surely would. But as the health care expert Harold Pollack has pointed out, Sanders’s plan would in effect require a doubling of federal income tax collections.4 The attack ads would doubtless say something like: “Bernie Sanders wants to double your taxes, limit your choice of doctor, and turn America into Cuba.” Times may have changed this country, but have they changed enough that 51 percent of voters will vote against such claims?"