For decades now, the Democratic Party has been busy moving to the right while fiercely battling any movements to its left. Just to define those words, by right I mean politics aimed at concentrating wealth and power and by left I mean politics aimed at spreading wealth and power more equitably.
Nevertheless, a lot of people who consider themselves progressive or liberal have stuck with the Dems. They bought into the “lesser evil” ploy that says no matter how bad the Dems get, the Reps are always worse. Therefore, they've given up on progressive politics and decided to follow the Dems ever more to starboard lest the Reps win and, horror of horrors, get to name more troglodytes to the Supreme Court.
With the country’s concentration of wealth and power growing ever more outrageous, it finally dawned on some progressives that following the Dems into a coronation of the pelf-sodden and imperious Hillary Clinton was a bottom of the barrel proposition. So they revivified progressive politics after all these years by joining the grass roots campaign of Bernie Sanders, an independent running for president as a Dem but who calls himself a “socialist.”
Bernie’s not afraid to use that scare word because it’s lost much of its pejorative punch in the decades since the Cold War, and thanks to the fruit fly attention span of our pea-brained polity who think socialism is a variant of sociable. In any event, Bernie’s mission is to educate not to placate. So he regularly explains that he’s the kind of socialist who govern in Scandinavia and northern Europe, where people enjoy high living standards, lots of civic and social benefits and broad democracy. So what’s wrong with that?
And Bernie can always point out that this is a vast improvement over the conservatives’ model country of Somalia where government barely exists, religion and family values rule, and everyone has a gun.
Bernie’s not perfect, of course. He’s good on economic and domestic issues, but plays go along to get along when it comes to the care and feeding of the empire. He regularly votes in favor of further engorging the Pentagon. And like virtually every national politician in the U.S. he accepts the sovereignty of Israel over Washington when it comes to the Middle East.
Sanders' secret weapon is his use of plain talk, as opposed to the politispeak twaddle of conventional candidates and the crassness of Trump. Bernie tells us that the rich are taking it all for themselves and thereby impoverishing our country. Everyone knows it, but only he has the guts to say it.
Americans have been taught to adore the rich, so blaming them for their limitless greed and ruthlessness has never been popular. The sheeple would rather fantasize about being Trumps themselves than reset the country’s prime economic goal from making billionaires into multi-billionaires to ensuring everyone the basics of a decent life the way they do in the first world.
Or so it has been until now. We seem to be at beginning of another wave of reform, or so I hope. The size of Bernie’s crowds is encouraging. It means that more Americans than we might have thought are willing to go beyond politics as usual.
In reality, the powers that be will not let the likes of Bernie Sanders win the presidency, let alone change the system if by some miracle he gets elected. But what they they will have trouble throttling is a broad popular movement, should one grow out of not only the Sanders campaign but out of the hopeful political awakening of which Bernie’s effort is a part.