On June 6 2015, I went to see Chris Hedges speak at Town Hall in Seattle. Sadly, Chris and several other Socialists at this event condemned Bernie Sanders for running as a Democrat for President of the United States. In this article, we will explain why the claims made by Socialists against Bernie are not supported by the facts. Instead, the hatred of some Socialists towards the wealthy wing of the Democratic Party is so great that it has blinded them to the fact that the election of Bernie Sanders as President would lead to real improvement in our economy and in the lives of working families.
Bernie is NOT Corrupt
Let's consider the claims being used to oppose Bernie. We begin by acknowledging an important truth. Some leaders of the Democratic Party are corrupt. They are owned by Wall Street billionaires. It is understandable that Socialists hate the corruption of some of the leaders of the Democratic Party. So do I. But the Democratic Party is more than just the leaders of the party. There are one million people in Washington state who claim to be Democrats. We are not corrupt. We are not owned by Wall Street billionaires. We want a President who will fight for us and fight against the billionaires. Bernie Sanders has been fighting against the billionaires and against political corruption his whole political career. The people are for Bernie because Bernie is for the people. Some of the leaders of the Democratic Party are corrupt. But Bernie is not corrupt. It is unfair to lump Bernie with corrupt politicians whose policies he has consistently opposed.
Progressive Democrats or New Democrats?
It is important to recognize that not all Democrats are the same. There are two major wings of the Democratic Party – Progressive Democrats and New Democrats. These are not terms I made up. These are actual caucuses in Congress and what these two groups call themselves. Progressive Democrats support funding schools and social services with a “progressive” tax structure in which the wealthy pay a higher rate than the poor and middle class. New Democrats favor gutting funding for schools and social services in order to pay for billions of dollars in tax breaks for the banks, billionaires and wealthy corporations that paid for their elections. There are about equal numbers of Progressive Democrats and New Democrats in Congress. But it is obvious that Bernie sides with Progressive Democrats instead of New Democrats.
Bernie has a real chance to win the election
The next false claim is that it is impossible for Bernie to win This claim ignores several facts. First, Bernie has won many elections he was not supposed to win. Second, every day more and more people are starting to recognize that our real problem is the billionaires – the concentration of wealth and political power in the hands of a few. Bernie's candidacy is helping to expose this problem because Bernie talks about the danger of billionaires in almost every speech he gives. In fact, polls show that Bernie is gaining ground and may even be in the lead in many States. Political analyst, Eric Zuesse, posted an article on June 1 2015, in which he concluded that Bernie Sanders has the best “net favorable” rating of any Presidential candidate. By contrast, his main opponent for the Democratic Party nomination, Hillary Clinton has been sinking like a rock.
Based on this analysis, Zuesse predicted that Bernie will win the Democratic Nomination and the Presidency.
As another example, a Washington State poll of 370 Democrats on May 22 2015 showed Bernie Sanders in a strong second place behind Hillary Clinton. Source: Gravis Marketing Poll May 22 2015
Democratic voters were asked the following question: If the Washington Democratic Caucus for President were held today and the candidates were Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee, and Bill De Blasio, whom would you vote for?
Here were the results:
The total number of registered voters surveyed in this random phone poll was 1,032. While 370 people declared themselves to be Democrats about 340 declared themselves to be Independents. Given that Independents are likely to strongly support Bernie Sanders, who is also pretty much an Independent thinker, it is possible that Bernie is very close to if not ahead of Hillary Clinton when Democrats and Independents are considered together. Given that Bernie's campaign has not even started in Washington state, these poll results show that Bernie Sanders has a very good chance of winning the majority of delegates when the Democratic Party Caucuses are held in Washington state in March 2016.
The reason Bernie is so popular is that Bernie does not just represent the values of many Democrats. He also represents the values of many independent voters who have been turned off by corruption in both major political parties in the past. Many Americans are beginning to wake up to the fact that our real enemy is the billionaires – not Bernie Sanders. So Bernie absolutely can win – especially if more folks on the left support him instead of forming a circular firing squad!
Bernie is not a Recruiter for the Democratic Party
The next claim made by those on the left who oppose Bernie is that he is some sort of secret recruiter for the Democratic Party. They claim that the real purpose of his campaign is to recruit independent voters to join the Democratic Party. I have gone door to door and spoken with more than 10,000 independent voters. The idea that they are going to change their views for Bernie Sanders or anyone else is absurd.
Here is what will really happen. Some independents, and possibly a lot of them, will attend Democratic Caucuses in Washington state in order to help Bernie get delegates to the Democratic Party National Convention and win the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States. But attending a caucus is not going to even remotely change their independent political views. Bernie Sanders understands this because he also is an independent thinker. Bernie is running because he recognizes that the time to take back our country is now. He is running to help the American people have a better life – not to recruit independent voters for the Democratic Party.
Socialists are not likely to win a national election
The third claim made by Socialists who oppose Bernie is that the only solution to our economic problems is supporting the Socialist Party. They point to the election of Kshama Sawant to the Seattle City Council as an example that Socialists can win elections. But it is one thing to win a City Council election in a left leaning city. It is another to think that Socialists are going to win a statewide election – much less a national election - any time in the near future. Our nation needs a President who is on the side of the people now – not some mythical dream candidate who might win 100 years from now.
Bernie is not a Perfect Candidate – but neither was any Past President!
The fourth claim made by those who oppose Bernie is that Bernie is not a perfect candidate. For example, even though he had the wisdom and political courage to oppose the Iraq War, he voted for the military budget. So Bernie is no perfect. However, a review of all past Presidents would reveal that we have never had a perfect President and likely never will. Folks who support Bernie are not supporting the lesser of two evils for the simply reason that Bernie is not evil. He may not be right on every issue we care about. But he is definitely not evil.
Bernie supports reigning in Wall Street corruption and restoring taxes on billionaires to help make a college education affordable again. The billionaires sadly are so greedy that they do not want to pay their fair share of state and federal taxes. Instead, they work hard to divide and conquer the people. We, the people, need to unite and work together if we are to defeat the candidates of the billionaires. Bernie Sanders may not be perfect. But in the 2016 election, he will be our best hope for overcoming the billionaires, rebuilding our economy and restoring our democracy.
I urge those on the left to stop shooting themselves in the foot and join with millions of Americans who support Bernie Sanders for President of the United States.
David Spring M. Ed. springforschools (at) aol (dot) com