I’m officially joining the Bernie Sanders “political revolution”

Bernie06

Back in 2013, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, when asked if he’d consider making a run for President, said that he might have to, if, during the campaign, “the collapse of the middle class, growing wealth and income inequality, growth in poverty, (and) global warming” were not being discussed in any significant way. Well, Bernie apparently came to the conclusion last week that these topics weren’t likely to get the attention that they deserved in a primary in which Hillary Clinton runs unopposed, and he threw his hat into the ring. (According to some, he tried to convince Elizabeth Warren to run, as he thought that she might actually have a chance of defeating Hillary, and winning the nomination, but, when it became clear she wasn’t going to do it, he decided to run himself.)

I know some will say that he doesn’t have a chance of winning, given that he identifies as a Democratic Socialist, and a significant number Americans would sooner take up arms than see a Socialist sworn in as Comander-in-Chief, but it’s hard to look at his platform and not see how it might have wide appeal with a majority of eligible voters, given the state of our country today… Here’s his platform.

Here’s what this campaign is going to talk about:

Income and wealth inequality: In the United States today we have the most unequal wealth and income distribution of any major country on earth — worse than at any time since the 1920s. This is an economy that must be changed in fundamental ways.

Jobs and income: In my view, we need a massive federal jobs program which puts millions of our people back to work. We must end our disastrous trade policies. We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. And we have to fight for pay equity for women.

Campaign finance reform: As a result of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, American democracy is being undermined by the ability of the Koch brothers and other billionaire families. These wealthy contributors can literally buy politicians and elections by spending hundreds of millions of dollars in support of the candidates of their choice. We need to overturn Citizens United and move toward public funding of elections so that all candidates can run for office without being beholden to the wealthy and powerful.

Climate change: Climate change is real, caused by human activity and already devastating our nation and planet. The United States must lead the world in combating climate change and transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainability.

College affordability: Every person in this country who has the desire and ability should be able to get all the education they need regardless of the income of their family. This is not a radical idea. In Germany, Scandinavia and many other countries, higher education is either free or very inexpensive. We must do the same.

Health care: Shamefully, the United States remains the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people. The United States must move toward a Medicare-for-all single-payer system. Health care is a right, not a privilege.

Poverty: The United States has more people living in poverty than at almost any time in the modern history of our country. I believe that in a democratic, civilized society none of our people should be hungry or living in desperation. We need to expand Social Security, not cut it. We need to increase funding for nutrition programs, not cut them.

Tax reform: We need real tax reform which makes the rich and profitable corporations begin to pay their fair share of taxes. We need a tax system which is fair and progressive. Children should not go hungry in this country while profitable corporations and the wealthy avoid their tax responsibilities by stashing their money in the Cayman Islands.

“And these are just some of the issues that we will be dealing with,” says Sanders.

If this resonates with you, consider endorsing Bernie’s platform. Or, if you have the money, join me in making a small contribution, in order to help ensure that Bernie’s message gets heard in an environment where the wealthy can spend unlimited amounts of money in order to determine which candidates will be heard, and what these campaigns will be about… Bernie, by the way, will not be launching a Super PAC, and won’t be asking billionaires to bankroll his campaign. And, for what it’s worth, a lot of people are making an effort to help him. As of today, over 100,000 donors have contributed a total of $4,000,000 to the Sanders campaign.

Here, for those of you who would like to hear Senator Sandors stating in his own words why he’s running, is footage from his formal announcement.

Personally, I don’t think it really matters, but I should probably add that Sanders is under no illusion that he might win the Democratic nomination… As the Washington Post reported last week, “What Sanders’ candidacy is really about is influencing the debate within the Democratic party in the quadrennial pinchpoint of a presidential election. Sanders wants to drag Clinton (and everyone else in the field) to the left on issues like trade (he opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership), campaign finance reform and income inequality.

I know some disagree with the strategy. If you’re curious as to why, I’d suggest reading the recent feature at SocialistWorker.org, which does a pretty good job of summing up the case against Sanders’ participation in the Democratic primary. Here’s a clip.

…(I)n running for the Democratic presidential nomination as the liberal outsider with almost no chance of winning, Sanders isn’t very “bold”–no more so than the fizzled campaigns of Dennis Kucinich in past presidential election years. And by steering liberal and left supporters into a Democratic Party whose policies and politics he claims to disagree with, Sanders–no matter how critical he might be of Hillary Clinton–is acting as the opposite of an “alternative.”

…THE DEMOCRATIC establishment can breathe a collective sigh of relief. It doesn’t, in fact, fear liberal Democrats like Kucinich or Sanders, but third-party challenges like Nader’s that have the prospect of breaking their stranglehold on votes from workers and the oppressed, as several local and statewide campaigns have shown over the last few years…

For what it’s worth, I understand that point of view. And I wouldn’t criticize people for ascribing to it. As someone who supported Ralph Nader’s third-party bid for the presidency, I ascribed to it once myself. I felt as though the system was broken, and I voted for an alternative. Rightly or wrongly, I’ve come to the conclusion over the past several years, however, that there is a real, fundamental difference between our two political parties, and, given that, I cannot imagine voting for a third-party candidate again, if doing so would give an advantage to the Republican in the race. Yes, there are things about the Democratic party that I do not like… like the power corporate money holds over the it… but I’m not willing to say that “they’re both the same” and just walk away in disgust. There’s just too much hanging in the balance. So, as much as I might want to support a third party candidate, I can’t see myself voting in such a way as to help a Republican President get into office, where he or she would likely have the opportunity to appoint our next Supreme Court justice. And that’s basically what it comes down to for me. When I’m voting for the President, regardless of who the candidates are, I’m really voting on the Supreme Court… I’m essentially voting between Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. So, given that, I like that Sanders is running in the Democratic Primary, where he won’t necessarily be taking votes away from Clinton during the general election. And I know it’s unlikely, but I can’t help but think there might be a shot that Sanders could win the whole thing. Stranger things have happened… We, after all, sent a delusional reindeer farmer to Congress from Michigan… If you’re in the race, you never know what might happen.

And I just like the fact that someone came forward to run against Clinton. I can appreciate the fact that people in the party don’t want to run against her, as they know she’ll need her resources for what will likely be an incredibly bloody general election. And I get that folks feel as though she deserves a shot, having somewhat gracefully stepped aside when it became clear that Obama would have an edge in 2008. But, with that said, I don’t like to see people run unopposed. And I love that Bernie will nipping at her heels, and forcing her to talk about issues that matter.

Lastly, I’d like to leave you with this quote from Sanders, which comes from a recent interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week program. “We need a political revolution in this country,” Sanders said, “involving millions of people who are prepared to stand up and say ‘Enough is enough,’ and I want to help lead that effort.”

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10 Comments

  1. Eel
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Have you heard him sing?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/09/17/bernie-sanders-singing-this-land-is-my-land-will-change-your-life/

  2. Meta
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Bernie talked about Hillary Clinton on CNN this morning:

    KEILAR: Hillary Clinton talks a lot about income inequality, how you differentiate yourself on this from her?

    SANDERS: Well, it’s one thing to talk about it. It’s one thing to act on it. I have been helping to lead the fight for the American middle class for the last 25-30 years. We have introduced legislation that would rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create up to 13 million new jobs.

    In the Senate I’m leading the effort to raise the minimum wage up to $15 an hour so that people who work 40 hours a week will not be living in poverty. We have presented legislation right now which will say to the wealthiest people and largest corporations you know what, you can’t continue to avoid paying your fair share of taxes.

    KEILAR: Your candidacy was assessed by “U.S. News and World Report” like this. It said, “Like Obama in 2008, Sanders can serve to help define Clinton and make her a stronger candidate. Unlike Obama, Sanders can keep Clinton on her game without getting her tossed out of it.” You look at that assessment. Are you a spoiler here?

    Are you aiming to be a shaper of the debate? Or do you think that you really have a pathway to victory?

    SANDERS: I think that there is more discontent with establishment politics, with the greed of corporate America than many people perceive. I think we have a good – I’m not going to deny for one moment that I’m going into this race an underdog; Hillary Clinton will have a lot more money that we have.

    But let me say this, even in terms of money, we’ve been in this race for a couple of weeks; we’ve raised over $4 million because people are sending on average not $1 million, not $10,000, $43 per contributor to berniesanders.com; we have now 100,000 contributions.

    I think we can raise millions of those small contributions.

    KEILAR: I just wonder is this going to be a civil debate with Hillary Clinton? Even if you’re talking about issues and not personality or the fact that she’s establishment, you have to go after a leading candidate with a hard edge. Are you prepared to do that?

    SANDERS: Well, Brianna, let me turn it around to you, OK.

    I’ve never run a negative political ad in my life. People in Vermont know that I run in many, many campaigns. I don’t believe in ugly 30-second ads. I believe in serious debates on serious issues. I’ve known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. Maybe I shouldn’t say this. I like Hillary Clinton. I respect Hillary Clinton. Will the media, among others, allow us to have a civil debate on civil issues? Or is the only way to get media attention by ripping apart someone else? I certainly hope that’s not the case.

    Read more:
    http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/2015/05/17/exclusive-u-s-sen-bernie-sanders-on-his-case-for-the-presidency-the-media-and-hrc/

  3. site admin
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    FYI….. There’s talk of a local Ypsi for Bernie meetup happening sometime soon. Stay tuned.

  4. Kit
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Bernie is doing it right. We cannot afford to hand the election over to Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio by pulling progressives away from the Clinton campaign. Bernie knows this. He knows what’s at stake, and he’s not willing to jeopardize Social Security and everything else by that we’ve fought so hard for.

  5. Bee
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    i think he’s brilliant, and firm and kind. And I straight up think of his message gets to enough people, he absolutely could win the presidency if he wanted to.

    I’ve been cracking my 15 year old daughter up over how fired up I am about him, given that I’m not a citizen and can’t vote. /yet/ Bernie makes me want to take action and finally step in the ring. I was a big supporter & volunteer for Kerry in 2004 and was devastated over his loss. I was on the path to citizenship but stalled when he lost (I know it sounds paranoid, but I was afraid I’d get deported if the government learned I was volunteering for the Kerry campaign. I’d had my mail arrived open for the prior 4 years, and I was pretty vocal online about my feelings surrounding GWBush and the state of the country)… Annnnnyway. Here we are now. Mr. Sanders brings me to tears with his simplicity, his honesty, his total take no shit but in a very civil and considerate manner. I also love his record ;)

  6. Bee
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    i mean his voting record, but also his music record. His voice is like a bowl of potato salad.

  7. Demetrius
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I, too, have joined (online) and am making monthly contributions to Bernie’s campaign.

    I have no illusions that he’s going to win. I’m just glad he’s saying the things he says … and asking the questions he asks

    I don’t (under any circumstances) intend to vote for Hillary … and feel I might as well vote for a Republican.

  8. Lynne
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Here is the thing about candidates running for president who are not running as Dems or Republicans. They can’t win and all they do is split the vote. Now, if someone is at the point where they don’t see any real differences between the Dems and the GOP, then third party candidates are a nice option and better than not voting. However, for all of it’s faults, I see the Democratic party as being much better than the alternative (and there is only one viable alternative) especially when it comes to SCOTUS appointments.

    This is why primaries are a good opportunity for a guy like Sanders to run. It is a lot easier for people like me to vote for him when the alternative is likely Hillary Clinton, who is more conservative than I like but no Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz or any of the other potential GOP candidates. I couldn’t vote for him as an independent because that would benefit a GOP candidate but I can vote for him in the Democratic primary because that vote will send a strong message to the winner of the primary about where her base’s values lie. Assuming of course that Clinton wins. If enough people back Sanders, he could be the winner. I know it is unlikely but it IS possible.

  9. Demetrius
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    I’m tired of voting for the “lesser” evil, or to merely to keep “the other guys” from winning, or over the Supreme Court, etc.

    One of the parties is much (generally) worse, but they’re both bad … and life it too short to vote out of fear instead of hope.

  10. Posted March 19, 2016 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    I used your photo for an event page to promote my Bernie Sanders group which is an archive of 1000s of Sanders and the 2016 Election articles and videos. I hope that is Okay! Feel The Bern! Peace, Michael

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