Bernie Sanders: The Little Socialist That Could – by Amanda S. Green
Bernie believes the American public is either too stupid to see through him or we just don’t care. I know, I know. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Still, when I see it so blatantly displayed as I do in his book, “Our Revolution”, I can only shake my head. Then I despair a bit when I think about how many actually cast their votes for him in the last presidential election. Of course, when your choice is Bernie the open Socialist or Queen Hillary, the closet socialist and empress wannabe, it might be difficult not to vote for him.
As we start the second chapter of Bern’s book, he reminds us that he is the “longest serving independent” in Congress’ history. Now, in one way, he’s correct. He is an “independent” if you count the Democrats and the Republicans as the only political parties in our nation. Or, I guess you could say he’s an independent because he doesn’t side with either of the two major parties. But when you really look at the statement, you see how he is pulling the wool over our eyes.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room. If he is an independent, why did he run for president on the Democratic ticket? That sort of says he identified with them, doesn’t it? Or maybe it shows that Bernie isn’t as dedicated to remaining independent as he’d like us to believe. After all, if the DNC hadn’t worked so hard to torpedo his run, something he supposedly had no idea about until after it happened, wouldn’t he have owed them some form of gratitude for the monies and politicians it put behind him in an attempt to get him elected? That would sort of undermine his “independence”. It would also firmly put that “D” behind his name. Now, I know, the Dems have been moving ever more quickly toward the socialist end of the scale, especially since FDR, but still. . . .
Then there is the simple fact that he identifies as a Democratic Socialist. If you go to his website, you will find a nice – and long – speech by good ole Bern about what he believes and what he believes Democratic Socialism is. Yes, there is a lot in common with the Dems, but he goes so much further than they do, at least publicly. And, by the way, once you identify with a political ideology, you aren’t independent. Independent means you think independently from any one political platform or party and consider the issues from all sides, etc. Bernie has proven over and over again that he is anything but an “Independent”.
But I digress, let’s consider what else this so-called Independent has to say.
His second chapter is supposedly about his political life in Vermont. What becomes clear very quickly is that good ole Bernie liked the political life. He ran for office the first time in 1971. He’d gone to a meeting of a “small third party”, the Liberty Union Party. At the time, Vermont was holding a special election to replace Senator Winston Prouty, who had died in office. A member of the House was giving up his seat to run for Prouty’s senatorial seat. So that, Bernie realized, left two seats up for grabs and this “small third party” was looking for folks to run.
Now Bernie, not being shy even though this was his first time to attend a meeting of the LUP, spoke up. He remembers talking about the economy and Vietnam, among other things. So imagine his surprise when they asked if he wanted to be their nominee for Senate. He was now running for office!
Think about it for a moment. Bernie hadn’t been involved with this political party. He didn’t know them and they didn’t know him. But he was now their senatorial candidate. With no money, no organization and no idea what the hell he was doing, he was now running for office – and not for local office but for the United States Senate. Riiiight.
As I think back, I realize that my campaign was not only a great learning experience and a lot of fun, but it laid the foundation for everything I have done politically since. During that campaign I did as much research as I could into the major issues facing the country, something I very much enjoyed doing, and spoke my mind about them. I didn’t worry about who I offended. (OR, pg. 26)
That’s how the U.S. got saddled with Bernie. He thought it was fun. He didn’t mind who he offended. He didn’t even know the major issues, not really, not until he began researching them. It was typical Bernie. Jump into the middle of something without really knowing what was going on and then go whole hog. Sort of sounds like the last presidential election, doesn’t it? Did he really think the fix wasn’t in from the beginning? Who didn’t know the DNC was going to do everything possible to make sure Hillary was their candidate? The owed it to her after she stepped back to let St. Obama take the nomination eight years earlier.
I guess the only thing good to come out of that election was Sanders lost. Unfortunately, he didn’t stay away from politics. His 2% of the vote didn’t discourage him. Instead, by his own words (OR, pg 27), he wasn’t satisfied with that 2% of the vote. So, he ran for governor. Once again, he ran on the Liberty Union ticket six months later in 1972. Again, he didn’t get discouraged, even though he only received 1% of the vote.
You get the picture. Bernie didn’t like losing. In 1974, he ran for the Senate again. He still ran as a “third-party candidate”. These candidates, according to Bernie, are often viewed as “spoilers” in an election. Duh. It only took him three campaigns to figure that out? I thought he was supposed to be smart.
One thing you can say about Bernie, he’s persistent. He ran again in 1976. This time, he ran for governor. He garnered his highest vote tally – 6%. This would be his last time to campaign with the Liberty Union Party and, for a few years at least, he was out of politics. Not that he didn’t continue to try to push his political agenda. During this time, he “wrote, produced and sold filmstrips” to schools about Vermont’s history. (OR, pg 28) In 1979, he branched out from Vermont history because he discovered that many college students didn’t know who Eugene Victor Debs was. This must have greatly offended Bernie’s socialist bones because he produced a 30-minute film about Debs. It is obvious from the book that Bernie would love to be Debs and so much more.
Debs was a great American, but his life and work remain largely unknown. He was a man of extraordinary courage and integrity whose tireless efforts on behalf of workers and the poor laid the groundwork for many of the programs established by FDR during the New Deal. Debs was the founder of the American Socialist Party and a six-time candidate for president. . . The life of Eugene V. Debs, his vision of a world of peace, justice, democracy, and brotherhood, has always been an inspiration to me. I have a plaque of Debs on a wall in my Washington Senate office. (OR, pg 29)
While Bernie hasn’t run for President six times – yet – no one can deny that he’s become a career politician. Not counting primaries, he has run in something like 21 local, state or national elections since the 1970’s. He might think he has a political revolution going on, but he doesn’t. His revolution is exactly what the Democratic Party has been moving toward since the 1920’s or earlier. The only difference is he openly calls himself what he is – unless it means identifying it on the ballot. He is a socialist. The DNC knows if it should drop the mask completely, it will lose the moderates in the party and that is the last thing it wants to do, at least not yet. So, they define Bernie as an outlier and point and laugh. They will use him in an attempt to get what they really want.
And it is blowing up in their faces, as is seen with the primary win by politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez against the DNC backed candidate. She is now going around the country, targeting other candidates backed by the DNC. Then you have Cynthia Nixon, she of Sex in the City fame, running for New York governor and openly embracing the Social Democratic label.
Bernie has become a thorn in the side of the DNC and he loves it. We, on the other hand, need to keep a close eye on what is happening and continue to fight. Our country has already slipped too far down the road to socialism. We need to put the brakes on now, while there is still hope to at least slow the slide.
Bernie is many things but dumb he’s not. In 1980, when he returned to actively being involved in the political scene, he ran for mayor in Burlington. He’d done his homework and had a plan, something I’m not sure he’d had in those earlier races. This time, he wouldn’t run as part of the Liberty Union Party. Now he was an “independent”. He also created a strategy, one he continues to use today.
We would run a campaign based on coalition politics. We would try to bring together, under one umbrella, the many diverse elements of the city that were unhappy with the current city leadership. And there were a lot of them. Over the years, as is often the case in urban politics, the administration had drifted further and further away from the neighborhoods and the working families of the city, and closer and closer to the downtown business community and the moneyed interests. (OR, pg 30)
Think about it. This is pretty much what he did in his presidential campaign. He reached out to those young voters who felt unconnected to the major parties. He had all the buzz words, all their “concerns” covered. He has, over the years, fine-tuned his approach and too few voters have caught on. they listen to all his pretty promises and condemnation of the status quo. Instead, they should be looking at his voting record, at the bills he’s proposed over the years and asking the hard questions about how he will pay for his high ideas. But they don’t.
So, we have to.
And we have to press him and those coming after him for answers. We have to remember that they won’t all be convenient idiots like Ocasio-Cortez with her ill-considered responses.
Bernie might never be president, but he is teaching a new generation of socialists how to manipulate the public into their corner.
I have never forgotten, however, that the most important political work that can be done is making door-to-door contact, speaking directly to your constituents and answering their questions. We need a lot more grassroots politics in America. (OR, pg 31)
This is where Sanders, and even Trump, out-performed Hillary. Again, fortunately. They not only recognized the need to make that sort of contact, whether it was door-to-door or in rallies, but to have a discourse with them where they spoke to issues that these potential voters felt were important. They connected with the voters, something Hillary didn’t, especially in the primaries. Had the DNC not given her the super votes, the presidential election might have taken a very different turn because the Democratic nominee would have been Bernie.
Like Bernie or not – and I don’t – we can learn from him. We need to learn from him. Otherwise, we are going to see him and those he has trained taking over our government. Our country may be flawed, and we might be slipping down the slope toward socialism but, damn it, we shouldn’t just accept that as inevitable. We should be fighting it tooth-and-nail. We should be doing all we can to understand the tactics of the enemy – the DNC and others who would destroy the basic rights guaranteed each of us in our nation’s founding documents. But to do so, we have to understand the enemy. If we do, then we can use their own tactics and their own arguments against them.
Now pardon me while I go find the brain bleach. I’ve already had too much Bernie and his brand of politics for one day.
(Help Amanda drink enough to keep snarking. We’ll collect for her liver transplant later.
Hit her Pourboir jar now! – SAH)