Endorsement for Bernie : An Old White Guy is Dragging a Shrieking Establishment into the Twenty First Century

Since the moment Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the all-too-slowly approaching quadrennial hoo-haw, I’ve observed, to my utter astonishment, how hell bent the establishment media and Washington beltway are in torching the democratic socialist.  In fact, and you’ll please have to pardon my cynicism, the collective establishment frenzy betrays profound ageism and greed.  In short, old people can’t be useful, and power-mongering among the supposed good guys (anti-Trump power brokers of the Democratic party) demands subservience to the finance and technology sectors of the economy.

Bernie is No Media Darling

Below is a sampling of elite and establishment opinion, remarkably across the narrow political spectrum permitted in everyday discourse :

What I wrote above exposes my own frustration with the lone voice of near reason in Washington, the Democratic party.  The Republican party long ago abandoned any pretense of being taken seriously, demonstrated by their slavish, totalitarian policy positions, along with their near unanimous defense of quite possibly the most immoral person to every occupy the White House.  The opposition party, by contrast, complains heavily but does little to nothing.  What I wrote above may make me sound very much like these charlatans, and perhaps I am.  Yet I understand that it isn’t enough to disagree and complain–it’s important to sketch a winning strategy, and try implementing it.  I believe that strategy can be Bernie.

Why Bernie in 2016?

During the early primary season ahead of the 2016 election, I learned more and more about Bernie, even attending, albeit reluctantly, my first (and so far only) political rally.  In August 2015, ten thousand people squeezed into a large sports arena on the campus of the University of Washington.  Though the rally itself underscored why I don’t care for them (uncomfortable seating, eternal waiting times, and a long parade of characters in the introduction component of the program), I nonetheless perceived a clear-eyed candidate, one articulating positions very near to my own; this normally wouldn’t be enough, as Obama had nice things to say but succumbed to frustrating policy dependencies on the big banks and other corporate sectors.  Bernie, by contrast, refused to take PAC and corporate money, relying solely on small individual contributions.  For the first time in my life, I donated the maximum amount of money to a candidate, noting that finally we might have an electoral prospect ready to upend Mark Hanna’s inviolable postulate that any serious candidate must rely on corporations to win.  Bernie not only came within whiskers of nabbing the nomination, he did so without media support.  In fact, had the DNC not sabotaged his campaign, we might have President Sanders today.  The DNC won’t have so easy a go this time.

Why Bernie in 2020?

Suffice it to say, when Bernie tossed his hat into the ring some weeks ago, I was instantly elated.  He’s now nationally known, he’s consistently polled, as of late 2018, to be the most trusted politician in America.  He understands clearly, as Franklin Delano Roosevelt recognized during the Great Depression, that popular pressure is the only means of asserting democratic control in the state sector.  That is to say, no president, senator, or representative will give us, the population, anything without a fight.  FDR was sympathetic to the working class, but he still had to press the labor movements to demand action.  I really believe that this feature, above all, can lead to political victory.  Nothing is a gift from on high.  For instance, when I’m asked about the pitfalls of nationalized health insurance, arguing with flaws in Britain and Canada’s respective programs, I remind folks, as did FDR with respect to economic justice, that no positive policy outcome is free; we have to work at it, and that means demanding justice of all kinds, asserting real citizenship.  That’s ours for the taking.  America’s is a remarkably free society.  Though there are costs to fighting injustice, we probably won’t be beheaded.

Labels versus Commonsense

As mentioned in the above exhaust(ive/ing) list of editorials (if you can dignify them with such an esteemed name), Bernie’s age, whiteness, and stridently conferred labels comes up frequently; even the so-called liberal media apparently believes old people ought be tossed on a desolate iceberg to die.  He’s too white, too male, too straight, despite the fact that he, a septuagenarian, single-handedly dragged the policy centroid of the Democratic party closer to that terrifying, scorched-earth leftist extreme of, woe be to us, every other industrial nation on earth.  Wonks for Hillary and Obama, following the black man and the white woman, decried Bernie as too far left in demanding infeasible policy objectives, despite Medicare for All polling well, fitting comfortably into infrastructure readiness, and benefiting from serious scholarship on how to implement it while protecting medical professionals; one need only skim the PNHP FAQ for details.  Hence, my title for this opinion piece–Bernie is the reason that Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg mostly agree on nationalized health insurance and free higher education.  Why, after greatly broadening the party platform, ought he step aside?  The Week seems to agree with me on this.   The New York Times carried an opinion piece comparing Bernie to Reagan with respect to historical examples; though I would prefer not comparing Bernie to a president responsible for mass murder in Central America, I understand his aim in describing possible public perception.

And what of nationalization of industry?  Is that a policy extreme?  Though vilified by analysts above, it has been an economic reality literally for decades.  Gigantic multinationals simply would cease to exist were it not for extensive government intervention in the economy.   Is economic and healthcare justice far left, whatever that means?  Noam Chomsky, referenced by Alternet, has repeatedly argued that Bernie’s policy positions are really mainstream, as Eisenhower himself suggested that any opposition to the New Deal would be so extreme as having no place in political discourse.  The Atlantic argues similarly.

And often I read that Bernie having not been a Democrat for most of his career ought disqualify him from the nomination.  I’m uncertain whether I’ve ever heard a claim so indescribably stupid when it comes to our political ecosystem, and therefore will only comment that even religions, mostly, admit outsiders who want to join.  The point is that political labels are completely vacuous.

Objective : Electability and Commonsense

Bernie is well-liked, unconstrained by private power, and capable of incredible fundraising thanks to his now international recognition.  He also has courted fans of Fox News, appearing in a town hall hosted by them and on many of their news programs.  This spells electability.  Does Bernie offer commonsense solutions to today’s problems? Well, commonsense knows no political philosophy.  Catastrophic ecological disaster and nuclear omnicide (something I’ll discuss in my book review of Ellsberg’s The Doomsday Machine) are the greatest threats to the species since we emerged some three hundred thousand years ago.  Trump places brown children in cages, declaring a national emergency at the border.  Despite his own departments acknowledging the dangers of climate change, he catapults us closer to the cliff.  This should be the national emergency, one Bernie understands.    We can salvage our future by selecting a sane, compassionate person for the most powerful office of the world.  How? Start talking.  Citizenship is not a status–it’s a job.