We must all be saturated with presidential primary campaign “news”. While there has been little of substance going on in the circus on the Republican side of things, the rise of Bernie Sanders’ campaign on the Democratic side does present some profoundly important questions for us. At this stage, those questions are not really about whether Senator Sanders can win the Democratic nomination, thereby defeating Secretary Clinton. Rather, the biggest issue is whether we are going to deal with the public policies the Sanders’ campaign has revealed to be foremost on the minds of very likely a majority of Americans.
Apparently, the Senator is bound to demonstrate that Mrs. Clinton, if she is the Democratic nominee, cannot ignore his proposals because he continues to win primary votes. There is a deeply appreciated rationality to that program. It is likely the best way to avoid whatever afflicts young and enthusiastic supporters that leads them to stay home when their candidate has not been nominated. Like every barrier that has been thrown up to oppose the Senator (socialist, Jew, No super-PAC), there is a cynical view that the party platform is meaningless. That may have been true in the past, but if such notions as single-payer health care, higher taxes on the 1%, a $15 minimum wage, facilitating union organizing and free college tuition make it into the party’s platform, there will be more support for the nominee than the old days.
Power in a democracy may once and for all be defined – not just as the vote of the people – but the vote of thinking people. Of course, such a profound conclusion would mean the defeat of the Republican candidates everywhere they seek to sully the American ideal. The Republican Party has demonstrated that it intends to exercise power without governing. This is perversely justified by a faux ideology of small government, but runs alongside the most personally invasive legislative proposals in the Country’s history.
While Mrs. Clinton is not my choice for the officer of President, nor the choice of millions of people who have thrown their energy into Bernie’s campaign, she is a far better choice than Donald Trump. That is not to say that Mrs. Clinton is simply the ‘lesser of two evils’ because she is not evil. Over years she has demonstrated a commitment to rational government based on decency. Her career has been much more in the mode of conventional means. No one anticipated the impact of Senator Sanders’ approach to the presidential campaign. Had she done so, I think Hillary would have preferred it for her own effort.
But, we Bernie supporters are not going anywhere. When the Democratic nominee is selected, no matter who it is, we’ll be around to make sure that what we liked in the Bernie Sanders campaign, will become White House policy. More importantly, we’ll deliver a Congress that will deliver laws necessary to assure the eventual solution to those problems.
One thing must be accepted, I think, for there to be any light shed on our future – we all have to vote and vote for the Democratic ticket. The alternative is voting for a Republican or not voting at all. If someone stays home and doesn’t vote, that is tantamount to casting his/her vote for a Republican. It is also abandoning the rest of us to electoral consequences that are foreseen by the legislative and governmental horrors of the last several years. Mrs. Clinton as President will, no doubt, reverse many of the brutally stupid laws enacted by the Republican Congress and state Republican officials. That is enough to get me behind her if Bernie cannot get the nomination.
I have voted in every election for which I was eligible since 1962 – the year I turned twenty-one. Each such election was said by someone to be of critical importance to our democracy and, perhaps, each was. However, in my considered and well-aged view, this is the time when we declare we are taking over because, if we don’t, disaster looms. In other words, this is the most critical election of my life and, I suggest, your lives.