8/14/15

Bernie Sanders . . .



Before I get too far in to what I'm about to say, let me clarify that I'm a long, long fan of the Clintons and Hillary specifically. She really is, I think, the best shot we (liberals) have at getting a president elected in 2016. It won't be easy. She's not perfect and her stubborn resolve, frustration over political challenges and loses in the past, and her gender and age (just being honest) will make it tough but I think she can and will do it.

That being established - I'm sorta in political love with Vermont Senator, mensch, and liberal's liberal's liberal (because apparently being labeled a socialist makes you a bad person) Bernie Sanders.

Sanders, a Jewish politician born in 1941 in Brooklyn was raised in a lower/middle-class, working-class family. He went to college in Brooklyn and then Chicago, lived in Israel (on a kibbutz) and then moved home and tried, to no success, to start his political career in the late-60s/early-70s. He eventually became Mayor of Burlington, Vermont (one of America's great liberal cities) in 1981. He served four, consecutive two year terms. He was elected to Congress in 1990 and, in 1991, started his tenure as a federal official as an Independent in the US House of Representatives with the Progressive Caucus at his back. He served there for eight terms and then became a Senator and was re-elected in 2012.

He's spent the entirety of his elected life and political career advocating for something we should all believe in - the middle class and the opportunity for everyone to feel connected to and empowered by the American dream (safety, true equality, security, help for those in need, education, business, jobs, opportunity, etc.).

I don't know when these ideas became taboo or crazy or when they became liberal insanity. There is nothing wrong with any of the ideas or notions Sanders has believed in, fought for, and pushed at every opportunity.

I would love a President Sanders. He's not overly handsome or charming so no one will discount him for looks and slick-ness (not a word). He's extremely bright and articulate (so no one will out smart him). He's very strong in his resolve and unwavering in his positions (so no one will dupe him). He's passionate about equality (so no one will paint him in to a corner of arrogance or exclusion).

Alas . . . I fear it is not a real possibility (as much as I would love it). Hillary Clinton has 19,000,000,000,000,000 more dollars, connections, and supporters. She has all the "my turn" favoritism that fuels American politics in general and she will not be denied in 2016.

The poll numbers show Bernie serging. People love him. They love his no-nonsense approach and his direct talk. He is the calmer, more sophisticated Donald Trump (his speak your mind schtick is just a little more refined). He has all the things people should like. Yet if you look at the polling data beyond the top figures he has one huge flaw, actual electability. People want to love him they want his ideas and his positions and they'd like his reality but they don't want to vote for him because they don't think he could beat Bush, Walker, or Rubio (the likely Republican nominees - at this point (for the record no one actually plans to vote for Donald Trump as a Republican and he's quickly missing windows to change affiliations and get on the ballot in key primary states as an Independent so his run will self-implode).

BUT here is why Bernie is still great (and gets monthly donations from me and his bumper sticker on my car) . . . he's challenging Hillary. He's forcing her to be more straight in her positions and intentions. He's forcing her to be more liberal. He's forcing her to take opposition seriously (she didn't take freshman Senator Obama seriously in 2008 - she won't make that mistake eight years later). He's getting her more prepared for those thee fellas waiting in the wings to take her on when the smoke clears next Spring.

Give 'em heck, Bernie. You've got my full support for as long as you're running.