For years I’ve listened to you on the Thom Hartmann Show for his “Brunch with Bernie” segments. I was always appreciative of your ability to talk with Thom regarding important economic issues in the country and world, as well as taking questions from callers unscreened. I found you open, sincere and truly dedicated to what you presented. You would point out the serious issues regarding wage and wealth disparity and I would nod in agreement, you would point out serious issues with “free trade agreements” and again, I would nod in agreement. You would point out how things should be: higher taxes on the wealthiest, corporations, single payer healthcare, reduction in income/wealth disparity, strong unions, worker rights, and each time you made the point, I would nod in agreement.
Now, assuming it was because of time constraints when asked by callers about “how?” I never heard anything more than the people getting involved. Obvious that is the first step but not the last or even middle step. The action of the people is important to bring awareness to the legislators and chief executives to the issues of the land and her people, but it comes up short. As you yourself pointed out, major stumbling blocks exist: Citizen’s United, Corporate Lobbying, Gerrymandered Congressional Districts, Lack of Serious Campaign Finance Reform, Super PACS, the list is endless and you point out the problems precisely. What was always lacking was how beyond “people power” you remove those obstacles to implement the change that is needed and how much time would it reasonably take to accomplish.
When you announced your candidacy for President, I like many found it interesting. However I also looked at it in the sense that to avoid a “Clinton Coronation”; having a far left challenger would coax her more towards the center if not the left on certain key areas. I don’t even believe you thought you would have any chance of success. You knew then that Hillary Clinton would be the best option of the then announced candidates and you wanted to make her a better candidate for the left.
Sir, you succeeded in that task. Sure enough she started making public proclamations that many were waiting to hear, not the least of which being her opposition to the TPP. She agreed that more banking regulation was required beyond Dodd Frank. She moved left. However, then you started getting a following. Again, congratulations on this accomplishment, you were able to get more people involved in the political process. You ignited the “people power” first step in change. However, something else happened. Although you started as an “anti-establishment” candidate of and for the people, you started the path of a serious candidacy that required you to bring on talented and experienced political experts to get your message out and dare I say, possibly win the nomination. You began to present yourself as an establishment candidate, using establishment rules of the game.
Here’s the problem, your message is out, the problems are now front and center, the way things need to be are now front and center, only thing lacking is the plan. Everything you suggest should be to solve the problems hinges on raising taxes not only among the corporations and wealthiest, but the middle-class too. The group you say are dying off due to economic hardship. In saying taxes must be higher you leave out the most important step in accomplishing that feat, getting the House to legislate the new taxes and spending and the Senate to concur before it could go to the Executive to sign off or veto.
As you pointed out in the past, there are major stumbling blocks with campaign financing and gerrymandering to expect to have a Congress receptive to these changes even with “people power.” As you know, today’s Congress will not even debate issues that 70 to 80% of nation want addressed. You also know that in 2017 the House will most likely remain in Republican Control and although the Senate is within reach, it won’t be “Filibuster Proof.” Any proposals for tax and spending increases will be dead on arrival for the next two to three Congresses. That is to say, the way you propose they be enacted.
This brings me to my respectful request of you. Recently, your campaign has gone on record demanding that the DNC have an “Open Convention” to give you the chance to win the nomination. This would mirror the dysfunction currently underway with the RNC. Further, your candidacy and recent “attack ads” on Clinton have inspired Democrats to attack her in kind using the same innuendos and false claims the right-wing have used against her for over 25 years. This in turn has led to attacks on you and your followers from Democrats. The party is now beginning to resemble the dysfunction the GOP is experiencing between Trump and Cruz. A divided party will have a more difficult time to keep the White House in 2016. Further, President Obama had planned by this time to place his support behind the nominee in an effort to reunite the party and move forward to not only a White House win, but a Senate win too. As long as the fight between you and Hillary Clinton continues, President Obama must wait on the sidelines.
You are an intelligent man Senator Sanders, of that there is no doubt. As such you know it’s mathematically impossible for you to win the nomination outright unless you destroy Hillary more to move this to an open convention. This only serves to benefit the Republican candidate. You also know that Hillary Clinton is more than qualified and experience to continue the work and progress begun by President Obama. She can move the nation and our economy towards the same goal we all share, just a bit more slowly and methodically. As they say, haste makes waste.
I implore you Senator Sanders, suspend you campaign and begin to unite the party for a massive win in November. The longer you delay, the harder it will be to repair the damage being caused. For the people, for our nation, unite with Mrs. Clinton who has moved towards your views on key issues and lets defeat those who would take us back to 2008.
Excellent piece. Yes, Bernie has never expressed details on “how”. He simply states the obvious and his only mention of a plan is to take money from the rich and give it to everyone else. Congress taxes not the President and no congress regardless of which party is in control is going to go after the 1% to redistribute their wealth. Bernie’s appeal is to those frustrated with the government due to polarization by the Republicans and the young who think he’s going to give them free college, free health care and high paying jobs.