Early dismissed as a modern-day Don Quixote, Bernie Sanders has mounted his Rocinante (1) and, speaking in the best New Deal tradition is making his charge demonstrating as he does that the much vaunted Clinton Machine is nothing more than an aging mill twisting, like a helpless weathervane, vainly in the wind. For this is no Knight-Errant off in search of adventure, but a true populist in search of social justice. Accordingly, he has sparked a prairie fire that now threatens the ramparts of the Democratic ‘Mossbacks ‘seeking to extend the legacy of Bill Clinton into its fifth term. Attracting tens of thousands to campaign rallies, 29,000 at a recent rally in Portland Oregon, and finding himself in a statistical dead heat with Clinton in the State of New Hampshire, the Sanders campaign now has many long-time political activists pondering the recently unthinkable. As Professor Robert Reich posted today on Facebook:
So could it be a President Sanders after all? A new survey by Ann Selzer, Iowa’s most respected pollster, shows Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie in Iowa has shrunk to just 7 percentage points, while Donald Trump’s favorability with Republicans has sharply increased. Meanwhile a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday shows that in a hypothetical general election match-up, Sanders tops Trump 44% to 39%.
By the way, here’s what Bernie said this morning on CNN’s “State of the Union," in response to Jake Tapper's question about whether Hillary would take on the billionaire class:
"I think that the business model of Wall Street is fraud. And I think these guys drove us into the worst economic down turn in the modern history of America. And I think they’re at it again. I believe when you have so few banks with so much power you have to not only re-establish Glass–Steagall Act but you’ve got to break them up. That is not Hillary Clinton’s position. I believe that our trade policies with NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China have been a disaster. I am helping to lead the effort against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That is not Hillary Clinton’s position. I believe, along with Pope Francis, and almost all scientists, that climate change is threatening this planet in horrendous ways and that we have to be aggressive in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel, and defeat, and defeat the Keystone pipeline, that is not Hillary Clinton’s position. I believe that as opposed to my Republican colleagues who want to cut Social Security, I believe we should expand Social Security by lifting the cap on taxable income. That’s not Hillary Clinton’s position. I believe that we’ve got to raise the minimum wage over a period of several years to $15 an hour. Not Hillary Clinton’s position. I voted against the war in Iraq. Hillary Clinton voted for it."
Your reaction?" (2)
This, is a great summation of the case for Bernie. Unless and until Hillary repudiates everything the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) did to the Democratic Party and this country, unless she repudiates the economic legacy of her husband's presidency by adopting a sensible and long overdue return to the economics of the New Deal, she will get little support from the progressives in this country. As the polls show, Bernie Sanders has appeal that transcends the left, as well as the Democratic Party, tapping an alienation and an anger, long bubbling under the surface, that thought it had found its champion in Obama 8 years ago and has been disappointed. Since then the groundswell has only grown and the Democratic Party must prepare itself for the inevitable realization that Hillary Clinton will not likely be its standard bearer. The bottom line is that this windmill, even if it were to unseat the intrepid knight from his faithful horse, is a hollow, aging edifice not likely to take us anywhere.
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocinante. Rocinante, the name Quixote gave to his horse, means ‘work horse’ here referring, by analogy, to the ‘commoner’ or ‘common man’.
2. Robert Reich, Facebook post 8/30/15