Monday, April 18, 2016

POLITICS: The Bernie—Hillary Conundrum

A few thoughts on the Bernie/Hlilary primary conundrum:

Been seeing/reading Facebook posts and other opinion sites documenting this current battle between the Democratic candidates. The deeper this nomination process goes, the more animus appears to be growing between supporters of each candidate—kinda like April 2008 when Obama and Clinton battled for the nomination (when Clinton was ahead in delegates and super delegates, etc etc). But I'm guessing, like 2008, when a victor is clear, the vast majority of Sanders and Clinton supporters will wisely support the winner in the general election because, well, ANY of the current GOP candidates is a horrible alternative for the nation.
So as an admitted Sanders supporter, I offer this modest snapshot of the two candidates that, I think, is a fair characterization of the difference primary voters are currently grappling with:

— Hillary Clinton may be one of the most qualified people to ever run for the White House in US History. Certainly one of the most seasoned politicians of the modern age. She has a clear record, has endured two decades of GOP and media antagonism, and is a truly formidable debater. But we know very well Clinton's positions—both as a Senator and Secretary of State she has a verifiable record. She is hawkish towards war—her votes bear that out. She is an acolyte of the Democratic Leadership Council (which got her husband elected in 92) that favors corporatism rather than the progressive/liberal views of the Democratic party's history (see Rahm Emanual as another example of DLC ideology). She opposed as First Lady the Bankruptcy Bill sponsored by credit card companies in the late 1990s, but voted FOR it after being elected Senator of New York (by her own admittance).

— for Sanders' supporters (like myself), Clinton will be a FAR superior choice than anything the GOP has to offer. BUT: she will be a CORPORATIST status quo choice. Banks and stock markets will do fine, international corporations will continue to prosper, our terrible trade policies will persist, but not much will change systemically in our economy or military-industrial complex, which means not much will change for the VAST majority of Americans.

— Sanders, on the other hand, is attempting to revolutionize America and its economy. REALLY tough sell—especially to complacent Americans who like buying cheap shit from overseas. It's a completely fair criticism of Sanders' campaign that he won't be able to do ALL the things he talks about. He won't—unless he gets a Democratic Senate (not an impossibility with the large number of GOP senators up for election) and House (unlikely this year even if seats are gained). But wouldn't it be better for MOST Americans to have a president who will fight/veto and negotiate with the recalcitrant conservatives from a farther left perspective than, regrettably, an Obama or Clinton who will negotiate from the middle (or middle right) with today's GOP?

— Sanders also has a verifiable record—in the House and Senate. As has been made clear by countless videos (C-Span especially), Sanders has been VOTING against corporate domination of the US economy for decades. His political and voting RECORD show that time and time again, Sanders has voted for legislation that helps American citizens and against what helps corporate, international trade, and the industrial military complex efforts gain more financial and legislative control of the country. Aside from his terrible vote to allow immunity to gun manufacturers (abhorrent from my perspective), there are few instances where Sanders voted to allow the military and corporations to abuse taxpayer money. Which is NOT true of Hillary Clinton.

We are in a new Gilded Age—the disparity of assets and money concentrated among a tiny percentage of the US population in the top .01% is actually much worse (in adjusted dollars) than during the Gilded Age.
We need a Teddy Roosevelt to serve as trust buster—to commit the federal government's resources to break up big banks, monopolistic corporations, and international companies hiding assets/profits to avoid paying "their fair share." ANYTHING less than a Teddy Roosevelt approach at this point will assure the continued concentration of wealth and wage deflation in America. (Obama had the rare window to assert TR's ideas in 2009—but he opted to work with the GOP.)

Back to the original conundrum:
Is Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders most apt to serve as the trust buster American citizens need in 2016?
Clinton will maintain the status quo—do you doubt it from her voting record? But she's still better than a Republican.
Sanders will AT LEAST put up a TR-style fight (even against corporatist Democrats)—do you doubt it from his voting record?

So let's stop quibbling about this one vote from Sanders or Clinton or this insinuation from campaign staffers. The body of each candidate's political work EXTREMELY clear:
Hillary will maintain things as they are
Bernie will try to upend things as much as he can.
To PRETEND that either candidate will do something different is naive and allergic to facts . . .

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