Bernie’s Out – Long Live Bernie!

Election US 2016

With Democratic contender, Hilary Clinton, now set to become the party’s nominee for president, many outside America are left wondering why Bernie Sander’s hopes have been dashed so decisively, and the ‘Establishment’ contender allowed to gain outright victory.

Throughout the primary season, Republican voters have made a clear statement of their views towards the Washington establishment by turning out en masse in support of the somewhat bizarre Donald Trump. If his landslide victory weren’t a rebellion against the U.S. political establishment, then it’s hard to know what else it could be.

With corruption, corporate-control, and the will to bring government to a halt in order to get their way now rife in Washington politics, it seems almost unbelievable to outsiders that Democratic voters should yet again choose the Devil they know, rather than someone who promises to fight their corner in Washington on the issues they’re supposed to believe in.

Much is being made in the popular press of the possibility of a first U.S. woman president, but that hasn’t been the issue in this campaign. Clinton hasn’t made it to the nomination because she’s a woman. She won precisely because she is Washington establishment, and the American Left isn’t yet quite ready to embrace a contender who unashamedly calls himself a Socialist.

In America, socialism is equated with communism. The propaganda of the Cold War years still weighs heavy on the American mindset, particularly among older voters. It’s no coincidence that the majority of Sander’s supporters are too young to have been affected by McCarthy, in an era that judged anyone who dared question capitalism a communist.

America isn’t yet ready to jettison its capitalist ideals in favour of socialism. Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton are both evidence of that. The average Joe still clings firmly to the belief that America will one day rise again from the doldrums of Empire and take its place as the true leader of the free world.

They have yet to realise that it’s the very capitalism they worship that is inexorably strangling the world’s freedoms and confining us all to the fetters of a corporate-controlled society determined to abolish culture and humanity in favour of the artificial concrete jungle of marketing blandness that is so evident throughout the U.S. heartlands, with its Walmarts, Lowes, McDonalds, and a multitude of other conglomerates, dominating the landscape of every state, city, and one-horse township.

The American Democrat desperately seeks change, but not at any cost. For them, Bernie Sanders is a price too high. So, for now, they’ll conveniently forget the abysmal record of the first Clinton administration: the ‘three-strikes” law; ending Glass-Steagal; NAFTA; the Defense of Marriage Act; expansion of the War on Drugs (prison population doubled from about 600,000 to about 1.2 million during the Clinton years); 1994 crime bill (which expanded the death penalty to 60 additional crimes including three that don’t involve murder: espionage, treason and drug trafficking in large amounts.); the bombing of a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant that provided 50% of Sudan’s medicines; doubling of Iraq sanctions (begun by Republican president George H.W. Bush) causing infanticide in Iraq; failing to act when U.S. intelligence knew in advance of the upcoming Rwanda genocide that claimed nearly a million lives, and the escalation of foreign drug wars by multi-million dollar military aid to right-wing factions of the Columbian military that resulted in tens of thousands of civilian deaths, with hundreds of thousands displaced.[1]

It’s not a great legacy for his wife to inherit, should she be elected president in November. One can’t help thinking that ‘more of the same’ will be the norm, if there’s yet another Clinton administration.

Frankly, the choice for voters come November is not an enticing one. The film, ‘Silence of the Lambs’ depicted a battle between two evils, one portrayed by Dr. Frederick Chilton, the jailer, and the other, the infamous Hannibal Lecter. It is, perhaps, too extreme to cast either Trump or Clinton in either role, but nevertheless, when U.S. voters go to the polls in November they will have to decide which candidate is the lesser of two evils.

As for Bernie Sanders, due to the present unease in American politics it’s likely that some form of social reform is not too distant. Unfortunately, unless he’s able to remain fit and healthy into his nineties, by the time the outcry is sufficiently loud to gain majority support among a normally reticent Democratic public, there may well be no Bernie Sanders around to take up the cause.

[1] “15 Ways Bill Clinton’s White House Failed America and the World” AlterNet, June 22nd 2015

3 Replies to “Bernie’s Out – Long Live Bernie!”

  1. Excellent assessment, as always, RJ!

    I shall not be choosing between two evils come November though. Unless things change somehow between now and November, I shall be leaving the president space on the ballot blank and voting only down-ticket. I’d vote Green but in Oklahoma that’s not an option. 🙁 State will go reliably Republican as always, so my vote doesn’t matter.

    I believe things will be different in 2020 – or at worst 2024, and that some charismatic candidate who was fired up by Bernie’s campaign this time, will emerge and do what was sorely needed to be done in 2016. At least they won’t be fighting the Clinton machine which has been the main reason for Bernie’s losses – rather than the label “socialist” which any sane person realises he isn’t anyway.

  2. Al – yes, and many put the improved economy down to him, but the truth is he had little to do with it. He simply laid the foundation stones for the 2008 depression.

    Twilight – Yes, Oklahoma sucks politically. I would respectfully disagree with you on one point in your second paragraph, when you say Sanders isn’t a socialist. He may not believe in the kind of socialism many Americans consider a true definition of the word i.e. gulags and labour camps, but interviewed by the AP in 1990 he said, ““To me, socialism doesn’t mean state ownership of everything, by any means, it means creating a nation, and a world, in which all human beings have a decent standard of living.”
    I think we both understand that’s true socialism. It’s certainly what I’ve believed in all my life. In that sense I believe Bernie Sanders is a true socialist.

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