Sunday, September 14, 2014

Socialist Bernie Sanders: Hillary's Left-Wing Challenger

Socialist Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
In his first appearance on "Meet the Press", Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders announced that he is mulling a 2016 Presidential Bid.

At least he's honest about his ambitions.

Now serving his second term in the US Senate, one of the most liberal, if not outright Leftist, votes in the upper chamber, his run would represent the frustrations of hard-core progressives and young idealists whose hopes for change have been crushed by the constitutional professor turned President, who learned that governing faces tough political realities in the American constitutional framework.

Sanders faces an immediate challenge if he choose to run as an Independent: without a major party based to stand on in the fifty states, he will have to build his own party structure and campaign, like constructing a plane and flying it at the same time: no easy feat.

Even in liberal California, Republican candidates (however liberal or moderate) ascend in the top-two primary precisely because of a larger, more stable ground game, even if their chances of winning remain slim. Independents, no matter how ardent the enthusiasm of their supporters, find that mobilizing volunteers and voter strength proves daunting, and oftentimes insurmountable.

Twice Sanders acknowledged that he had to decide that issue. Would he run as an Independent or a Democrat, and clearly to the Left of Hillary Clinton, who for all intents and purposes is running, minus the formal declaration. Sanders would upset any Democratic Presidential candidate's chances in 2016, peeling away the frustrated yet easily motivated liberal-progressive-left turnout from the mainstream candidate.

For the first time in a mainstream political forum, a moderator referred to an Establishment Democratic Party in contrast to a more active, ideologically honed section of the party. The Tea Party to the left is mobilizing, and may immobilize Democratic chances in 2014 and 2016. The narrative is changing swiftly now, away from the chronic, over reporting of conflicts within the Republican Party. Progressives in New York and throughout New England are troubling the statewide Democratic counterparts, with counterproductive policies taxing an already overtaxed revenue base.

That Vermonters settled for an openly, self-avowed socialist as their US Senator should trouble pundits. The Green Mountain State is not just a petri dish for socialist policies, but the end results of the same, including a bankrupted health care system, with legislative attempts to enact single payer failing to gain even Democratic votes. A rampant heroin epidemic in the region has worried the governor, who is looking forward to a comfortable reelection this fall.

Sanders, like his more progressive Democratic colleagues in the US Senate, decried the Citizens United SCOTUS decision with unjustified hyperbole: "One of the worst court cases in American history." Readers with a general knowledge of US (and particularly) judicial history would single out Dred Scott v. Sandford which practically rewrote the Constitution to permit human slavery in every state, overriding decades of forged Congressional compromise. Korematsu v. United States upheld the legality of indefinite internment of Japanese-Americans, another shameful legal ruling overturned thirty years later. Other decisions (Roe v. Wade, Kelo v. New London, Connecticut) have disturbed constitutional scholars for their blatant rejection of the Bill of Rights, word and spirit.

Tom Steyer
Launching into a patterned rant against the Koch Brothers, who are spending millions of dollars in campaign ads,  Sanders conveniently ignored the influence of left-wing billionaires, names which moderator Chuck Todd brought to Sanders' attention. As for the suggestion that the Koch Brothers' financial influence is staggering compared to left-wing politicizing, the statistics could not be clearer. Aside from Sheldon Anderson and William Ackman's staggering personal investments in lobbying, left-wing Tom Steyer funded a climate change filibuster in the US Senate, and he has pledged huge sums to defeat Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott. founder George Soros has pushed millions into left-wing causes, and for more than ten years. Politifact confirmed that the majority of active billionaire campaign funders donate to Democratic causes, too.
Left-Wing Billionaire George Soros

As for the effects of financing in political campaigns, look no further than the sudden defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who outspent his Republican primary opponent ten-to-one, yet still lost by ten points. The issue which motivated Virginia voters to oust their incumbent Congressman? His neglect of constituent concerns, plus his aggressive push for amnesty. The very voter anger which Sanders claims that President Obama has ignored, broke out in full flare and pushed out a pro-amnesty advocate in the House.

And on that issue of mobilizing voter frustration, a theme which Sanders emphasized that the President had failed to harness, the Vermont Senator refused to explain why the causes of voter frustration (shrinking middle class, unequal income distribution), The very socialistic policies championed by Sanders and his coterie (forcing the minimum wage, bureaucratized health care, prolix tax codes) have aggravated a sluggish economy. Not once did Sanders acknowledge that Obama's decision not to push so hard to the Left is precisely why this country is not as bad off as it could have been. Cap and Trade, sponsored in the House to die in the US Senate, would have crushed poor and working families with higher energy costs. Obamacare has made health care inaccessible because of expense and rationing. Minimum wage hikes have pushed more young and minority workers out of the entry-level job market.

Sanders wants to harness voter angst with both political parties, yet his Independent democratic socialism would all make matters worse. Chuck Todd deserves some credit for questioning the  Vermont Senator's hollow slights against the Koch Brothers while ignoring left-wing billionaires, and his unrelenting push for Sanders to distance himself from Hillary Clinton indicates that the Democratic Party now has its own Establishment v. Grassroots conflict to iron out in the years to come. With Sanders running as an Independent in 2016, he would scuttle Democratic chances at winning the White House, while offering Tea Party conservatives a stronger change to redefine the political process toward limited government and less corporate cronyism as a defining factor in federal politics.

Sanders' potential bid for President could drag down Hillary  (and the Democratic Party's) chances in 2016

No comments:

Post a Comment