8 Reasons why Bernie Sanders is the best candidate in the race
Posted by Pile
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[Beating Dead Horses]
|*BSA Exclusive Editorial*|
I dig Bernie Sanders. I've always loved him and his perspective. I agree with 99% of what he promotes in terms of long-term policy. But I still find myself uneasy with his candidacy. I will vote for whoever gets the Democratic nomination, but I'm not convinced people understand the dynamics and what's really in play right now?
As many of those on the left and the "disenfranchised" are "feeling the Bern" and hopping on the Bernie Sanders bandwagon, theres a schism developing among those who pine for social change.
It seemed hard to fathom that a candidate that has been so succinctly enumerating many of the problems people on the left, center and right have been harping about has now become so contentious?
I gotta be honest.. to me it feels like another Deja Vu moment. How I felt when I heard all my friends get so excited about Ralph Nader in 2000, and how his fresh rhetoric was going to change the political landcape...
It doesn't seem to make sense. Even among the editors at BSAlert, there's contention on the value of a Sanders presidency. Allow us to provide you with what we think are some troubling issues with Sanders and why we feel, as much as we love what he says, In my opinion (though not the opinion of everybody here) Sanders is a pied piper more than he is a path to change...
If all you want is Bernie elected; if all you care about is "sending the message" ok, I can't argue with that. But if you care about actually seeing his policy ideas executed, and moving in a more progressive direction during the next 4-8 years, you have to at least be open to these arguments...
1. What Bernie Sanders promises he cannot deliver
The 800 pound elephant in the room, the over-arching reality that Sanders supporters refuse to accept, that true pragmatic progressives cannot ignore, is the idea that "President Sanders" can accomplish what he preaches.
Unfortunately, that is technically impossible right now.
Yes, the President can sign executive orders. He can direct the military here and there. He can veto bills. He can appoint supreme court justices. He can give speeches and act as a focal point for ideas on social change, but in the end, the president is basically a symbolic representative more than he is an actual instrument of change. He's better at stopping change than he is affecting change.
Everything Sanders promises has to be approved by Congress. Right now that's a Republican-majority-controlled group. And predictions are this is not likely to change in the next election.
On matters of the military, the POTUS is paramount. A non-warmongering president is of critical importance, but on all fronts, the real power is in Congress. Yes, the president appoints supreme court justices, but Congress confirms them.
Our founding fathers were well acquainted with the problems of singular ruling forces, which is why they made sure the majority of our nations real power rested not in the president, but in a collection 535 elected officials who make up Congress.
Congress is the "engine" of America. It determines whether our nation moves, and at what rate. You can turn the steering wheel on a vehicle left or right, but without momentum, it's not going in any direction. We've seen this principal in action the last 7 years as Obama's congress shut the engine off and shoved the key up their asses.
Sanders, having been a member of both houses of Congress for decades, knows this fact all too well. He's even made mention of this reality, but he doesn't seem to be bothered that at this point, Congress is more obstructionist and opposed to his ideals than they've been in 40 years. It's pretty disingenuous to suggest change can happen if he's elected without an equally significant "revolution" in Congress, which isn't happening, which he is not bothered by.
2. Like those on the right, Sanders is a divider, not a uniter
While Sanders at this point has been gracious enough to not be attacking his fellow nominees, the same cant be said for his followers who are ramping up anti-Hillary smear campaigns in every corner of cyberspace.
This isn't unexpected, because Sanders campaign by definition is a mirror image of the tea party agenda: blame all the country's problems on "the other side". Whereas the tea party's strawmen are "liberals." Sanders strawmen are the "1 percent".
Before I get accused of employing a false equivalence fallacy, let me unequivocally state I in no way think that the left and the right are equidistant from the truth or the proper path to a better country and community. Nor do I think that most of what he says is untrue. Not. At. All. But I do notice both Sanders and the GOP are using divisive, disingenuous tactics to promote a pseudo-utopian idealism that ignores lots of other problems, that assumes many entrenched institutions will simply bend over and allow themselves to be shafted in the name of "equality and justice." Neat idea in theory. Never works in reality.
Furthermore, American politics has been dominated for the last 50 years by a finger pointing mentality. A need to blame our country's problems on "those people". A rallying cry to team up in order to "not let the other guys win." People no longer vote for an ideal. They vote against the enemy. Even though it seems people are voting for Bernie Sanders, the reality is, they like him because he's taken aim at their common enemy and he is very blunt about it. They find that refreshing, but it's still a mentality that splits our population into disparate groups who seem to either be the solution or the problem, with nothing in between.
Gone are the "it takes a village" arguments in this campaign. It's all about dismantling the enemy and his infrastructure. It's about declaring war on the 1%, which sounds great in theory but nobody is going to make those people and institutions lay down and die. And whether we like them or not, they're part of what makes things "tick." We need to change their priorities more than we need to destroy them. We need to begin making them understand why "the good of the many outweighs the good of the few" and how this also benefits the 1%, but that requires the promotion of unity, not division. It's not something Sanders preaches. His strategy is similar to the "winning the hearts and minds of the people" by invading Iraq.
3. There's too much at stake in this election
Sanders supporters will find this statement ironic. But they are also not looking at the big picture: Every other branch of government is now controlled by not just republicans, but extreme right wing republicans. The Supreme Court is barely holding on to any centrist views, much less anything progressive. After the last election both houses of Congress have fallen to a GOP majority. The tea party is continuing to gain ground. Even so-called "liberal media" like NPR have morphed into parroting the corporate agenda, fluffing the fossil fuel industry and beating the drums of war in the middle east.
While Obama unsuccessfully tried to get things done from the White House, the right and the money behind them, now unfettered by campaign finance rules, allowed them control even more of Congress. The only thing holding back the reversal of fifty years of progressive legislation is the guy in the white house.
This is an election the democrats cannot afford to lose.
This is not an election that a small-time guy from a small-time state, whose never been much of a target, or much of a threat to the status quo, should be tossed into an arena full of blood-thirsty lions.
We can't afford to not have someone in office who has dealt with these institutions before. Who is battle-hardened and has demonstrated she can take what they can dish out and still come out more ahead than behind. Someone whose every weakness has already been probed. If we fail, we don't simply lose the white house, we lose the supreme court, possibly for our lifetime. We lose healthcare. We lose gay rights. We lose women's rights. We lose our reputation among the world we've been slowly repairing since Iraq. We lose our civil liberties to "keeping us safe from boogeymen." We lose the battle to separate church and state. We lose science to theology. We lose our last chance to migrate away from fossil fuels and stop environmental catastrophe.
Sanders people think now is a time for attack, for change. The reality of the situation is, the left isn't ready for any attack. We don't have the kind of army the right has. We don't control any other branches of government. We don't have any loyalty among our community. We don't have nearly as much anger or commitment. We don't have an array of churches coast-to-coast who will bus their people to the polls. We don't have networks of thousands of radio and tv stations promoting our agenda 24/7. The painful reality is until we gain more ground, we are the defender, not the aggressor.
This doesn't mean anybody is "giving up." It simply means, we should be smart and not sacrifice what we've gained in an effort to move forward. It would be better to move forward a few steps, than risk losing everything in an aggressive assault with a new guy who doesn't have a track record of surviving these high level battles yet.
Bernie Sanders isn't leading a revolution. He's a young, outspoken commander of an undisciplined army, more rebellious than lawful, more reactive than proactive, less experienced than battle-tested, that refuses to admit it's out-manned and out-gunned.
We lose a lot if we lose. It's not a game. While some may think Sanders' opponent is part of the system, she's not. She has demonstrated she can stand up to the right.. and most importantly, live to tell about it. Whether Sanders can do that, nobody knows. It's a huge risk.
4. Sanders does not mobilize minority voters
Obama was a diversion from the prototypical "old white guy network" that has controlled the world since the dawn of modern civilization. His campaign was a sign and a rallying cry for millions who previously felt detached and disenfranchised. Likewise, Hillary could be poised to be the first woman President -- quite an elevation in the stature of a social class that less than 100 years prior, didn't have the right to vote at all. These are powerful, progressive signs.
Like it or not, the election of an old white dude like Bernie Sanders doesn't mean much symbolically. And America's minorities and women know this.
Yes, yes, "But Bernie is different! He's saying all these cool things..."
Wow. No old white guy has ever spouted populist messages before, right? I'm sure this time the blacks, the women, the hispanics, etc. are going to believe him and run to the polls... I wouldn't bet on it. The research indicates otherwise. The main people at Sanders' rallys are white people.
There's a very good chance the huge minority vote may sit this election out if it's between two old white guys. They've seen that episode before and know how it ends.
5. Sanders has yet to face the media hate machine
It's funny that many Sanders supporters have such a sour taste in their mouth about Hillary. Yet believe he is more "trustworthy" even though he's never been subjected to an intense grilling by the "lamestream media." You have to wonder if the same force that made Hillary "America's least trusted woman" couldn't have an impact on his reputation?
So far, Sanders has been ignored. That's about the worst you can really say about him and how he's been treated in the media. Very few institutions have put him in their crosshairs at this point, even though there are plenty of questions. His opponent has nothing but mostly nice things to say about him. Sanders' ability to deflect criticism is mainly limited to some snarky responses to select media pundits feeding him lines he's practiced rebutting for the last 20 years. He's very good at that.
Give him credit: Sanders is very good at steering a two-way conversation away from strawmen and red herrings, towards the real issues.
But what if the conversation isn't two-way? What happens when it's a tv commercial that doesn't give him a chance to snap back? What happens when mainstream media and its army of pundits-without-opposition begin bearing down hard with their ludicrous opinions of who he is and what he stands for? How does Bernie defend against that?
The painful reality is the right have an unparalleled ability to project messages in mainstream media that are unanswered and un-contested. They could make Ghandi look lie a serial killer to the populace. They can take the most innocuous of issues and turn them into life-threatening drama. It's what they do best. And Bernie has never had even a taste of that served up to him yet.
6. There's something eerily wrong with the most progressive candidate in the race also being the oldest.
The average age of Americans is about 37 years. Bernie is 74 years old. The average life expectancy of a male in the United States is 77. There's a statistically-decent chance he may not live out his first term.
While Bernie seems healthy and cogent now, so did Ronald Reagan, who was the oldest person to be elected president when he was 69. Bernie is five years older than when Reagan was when he took office. And we know what happened to Reagan a few years later. It's a scary thought.
Beyond this, the painful reality is Bernie will never see the results of any of his policy recommendations. Our country really needs someone who will be around longer, who has a material, vested interest in making the world a better place.
Bernie's age, coupled with his defiant, outspoken demeanor, portray him as the quintessential Cantankerous Old Fart. The only thing missing is him repeatedly screaming at people to "Get off my lawn!" To his followers, he may be the "wise grandpa" but to many others he's the crazy dude at the senior center that thinks he's still in Okinawa and the Japs are coming!
In many cultures age is equated with wisdom and experience. Not in America. We worship the young and the beautiful. We save our most cherished pedestals for the pridefully-ignorant and mediocre among us. With few exceptions, the intelligent are more feared than appreciated. America wants political leaders who are un-intimidating, mellow and friendly. Bernie is none of that.
7. Bernie Sanders' supporters are probably not truly committed
They don't want to hear it. They refuse to hear it, but it's true.
Bernie Sanders supporters love what he has to say. They desperately believe he can make the world a better place. They believe in his ideas.
They're just not willing to work that hard to make it happen.
If you examine Bernie's rheotric, you will see that it parrots the "Occupy Wall Street" movement almost precisely. What happened to those guys? Why did that die out? Because while at first they had a wave of support, in the end, those pushing for change got tired, bored, distracted, and went on to other things. There's no evidence that Bernie Sander's supporters are really willing to back him up in the way he would need to be backed up in order to succeed. Sanders' fans simply want to press a button, click a mouse here and there, and then sit back and let him do all the work. They aren't in it for the long haul necessary to protect him from the inevitable onslaught of shit that threatened institutions he's up against will unleash. They'll turn tail and run at the first sign of inconvenience (see what they did to Obama as soon as he didn't execute everything he planned).
Another example of Sanders' supporters unwillingness to "walk the walk" is in their almost non-existent interest in the upcoming Congressional elections. Even if Bernie were to become president, without a complete change of the house and the senate, his agenda has no chance. If you want to watch a Bernie Sanders supporter go catatonic, ask them about who's running in their congressional district. They'll change the subject faster than you can say "Gerrymandering."
Real change requires more than swapping out the guy in the driver's seat. If the vehicle has no engine and there's no roadmap other than, "away from there!" you're not going anywhere. Sanders supporters don't want to think about the painful reality that political change requires compromise and small adjustments instead of one glorious 180-degree turn. The moment they realize that won't happen they'll be moving to another pumpkin patch with their "Welcome Great Pumpkin!" sign.
Bernie doesn't care that his followers have a short attention span, because he's at the twilight of his political career and this is a last gasp. But others who will be around the next several decades can't get on board a movement that really has no solid foundation.
8. Bernie has way too many qualities that make him de-facto un-electable at this time
People hate polls. Polls and surveys can and do lie. And they should never be totally trusted, but there is truth in data. The key is recognizing and stripping out bias as much as possible, and if one does this. If one examines the reality of the voters and what principals and values they are motivated by, there are things we know they like and things they dislike.
For example, Bernie is Jewish (culturally). There has never been a Jewish president or vice president. Jews make up approximately 1.4% of the American population. Like it or not, Americans vote for people "like them" - the more minority a group is, the less likely they are to get support from the mainstream. It's less a function of anti-semitism than it is a painful reality that tribes like to stick together.
On top of this, it's widely known that Bernie isn't simply "non-religious" but that most feel he doesn't really believe in god(s). He's skirted the issue but the atheist community claims him as one of their own. In surveys among the public, non-believers polled as the least-trusted group of them all. There's likely to be a president who's gay, transgender, half-black, half-hispanic, Jewish, convincted felon, member of ISIS than a guy who doesn't believe in god. The mainstream media can have a field day with this. The GOP would love nothing more than for Bernie Sanders to get the Democratic nomination because they know they can destroy him on the virtual of his non-religious stance alone. They've cultivated a huge voting block of theists that cross party lines and believe that in the absence of religion, there's no real reason to be moral. They'll jump on this and easily make Sanders as well loved as Madalyn Murray-Ohare.
Let's examine Bernie's political history: He's been an outsider his whole life. Contrary to what some claim, he's not that good at reaching across the isle and compromising. He's been in the house and senate for 20-30 years and only got three bills he authored passed, and two of them were renaming post offices. He represents one of the tiniest states in the union and has a most homogeneous population of 94% white people. Blacks in his district represent 1% of the electorate. He's a white man's white man. He's never really had to appeal across cultural and social boundaries in order to become elected. He's pushed for a lot of legislative changes, but very little of it has ever seen the light of day. He's a great guy to have in Congress to oppose evil, but not effective at implementing good.
On a personal level, Bernie is a cornucopia of "un-presidential" activity. Unlike Obama and Clinton, he's been married multiple times. He has one child born out of wedlock to a woman he casually dated. He's no "rhodes scholar", he got a commonly useless degree, a BA in political science - known to all of us as a "let's party degree" more than anything else. Bernie has no noble work history. He was basically unemployed through huge chunks of his life, just hanging around doing stuff until at the age of 39 he decided to run for Mayor in Vermont. And then he just stayed there and focused on becoming a world-class curmudgeon.
And then there's the "socialist" label. Bernie wears it with pride and his followers love to point out the distinction between a "democratic socialist" and other kinds of socialists. Isn't that cute? They think Fox News, CNN, Talk Radio, and the Koch Brothers really care to know the difference and will be sure to help the American public appreciate the unique coolness that is "democratic socialism." Um, yea, I wouldn't hold my breath on this. But there's evidence he's more of a hardcore Soviet-style socialist than his fans think.
But wait, there's more! How about an essay he wrote in the 70s where he suggested women fantasize about being raped. The infamous "rape essay" is one of the many bombshells much in the community haven't seen dropped. Talk about alienating the female vote!
When you look at how easily public opinion can be swayed over the most casual of contentions, it's obvious Sanders opponents have a huge arsenal of questionable things they can deploy to make people re-think how viable a candidate he would be for the white house. Again, Sanders' followers super-glue the rose-colored glasses over their eyes, but not all of us can afford to be so hopeful when so much is at stake.
What other prominent progressives are saying...
Barney Frank: Bernie Sanders has been in Congress for 25 years with little to show for it in terms of his accomplishments and that’s because of the role he stakes out. It is harder to get things done in the American political system than a lot of people realize, and what happens is they blame the people in office for the system. And that’s the same with the Tea Party. It’s “I voted for these Republicans, we have a Republican Congress, we voted for them, they took over Congress, they didn’t accomplish anything.” You gotta win at least two elections in a row.
The Atlantic says Bernie Sanders is a Fraud: "The lack of support for Sanders among elected Democrats may also reflect his lack of support for them. During 2015, Clinton raised $18 million for other Democratic candidates, while Sanders did no fundraising for them at all. Those are just last year’s numbers. The difference in party fundraising between them going back decades would surely be even more dramatic. After all, before this campaign began, Sanders was emphatic that he was not a Democrat."
Rebecca Unger in the observer.com says"This is not about disagreeing with the message Bernie is preaching to Americans?—?I happen to agree with a lot of what he says. This is about the simple fact that his is an idealistic, naďve agenda that could never be put into practice in America. In this country, to legislate even one tenth of such an ambitious plan would take degrees of cooperation, sacrifice, even manipulation and such an immense amount of ‘give-and-take’ tactics that an idea that once stood untarnished, glistening at the campaign podium, would come out looking like a child’s napkin after a meal of spaghetti Bolognese."
None of this makes you the slightest bit concerned? Ok, fair enough, but please understand what you're in for...
Bernie is like a "special needs person." He's very lovable. He has awesome ideas. He's a great person with good intent, but as evidenced over the past 30 years, he is not capable of accomplishing things on his own and requires help from those around him. He's been living in a sheltered area of the country where he's been able to live comfortably, but now he wants to move much further out into the big, huge world. He does not realize how scary and dangerous it can be. All he's ever known is... Vermont. Vermont is not like the rest of the world.
If YOU want to adopt Bernie, you have to understand what you're in for. This is not a single vote, or signing a piece of paper and saying "ok."
If Bernie gets the nomination, every other day, he will be sticking his hand into an angry hornets nest. You can't abandon him. You're going to have to be there to take care of him CONSTANTLY, to totally back him up. He's nowhere near as capable in the real world as his non-special-needs sister, Hillary. Hillary can take care of herself. She's been out there longer. Bernie has yet to face what can happen outside of his sheltered space. Bernie likes to play with the docile puppies in his neighborhood but doesn't realize how vicious other, larger dogs can be, especially when you take their bone away. He will challenge powerful forces that can easily destroy him if he isn't continually backed up by his family.
This is a "lifetime commitment" if you adopt Bernie. So please be prepared for that or else you'll let his enemies win.
Are you ready and willing for that?
If you've gotten this far you no doubt have figured out the title is misleading.
This is a copy of my other article "8 reasons why progressives can't jump on the Bernie bandwagon"
Why be misleading? Because the fact is, things at first glance are not what they appear to be. Let this be a lesson.
Article written by Mark Pile for BSAlert.com
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