He is a socialist. A democratic one, he says. And he’s running for president.
When he speaks in public, he touches the future.
The Iowa caucus is now over. It was the first of many primaries to come. Hillary claims to have won. If they had played a basketball game, then maybe. She garnered two or three more votes, like winning 100 to 99. It was that close. Interestingly, to my eyes and senses anyway, the Iowa Democratic Party (in other words, the establishment Party), refuses to divulge the actual count. Nobody really knows what the real score was. But we are being told to trust them, THEY ARE the Iowa Party… and it’s how they’ve always done things.
Still, putting those facts aside, what we had in Iowa this week was a virtual tie between Hillary Clinton and (what more and more is becoming the theme of this campaign for “establishment” Democrats) the most dangerous man in America: (small ‘d’) democratic socialist (his words) Bernie Sanders, independent senator from Vermont. I say independent, because although he’s running as a Democrat, Sanders has served as an Independent in the U.S. congress, and as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, before that, since the 1980s. It seems he’s never really fit in with either “establishment” Party.
Sanders is a progressive, and he’s not afraid to tell you. If you look back at his life, he’s walked that path, not simply talked of it. His campaign has a simple message, which he describes as a political revolution. It’s a message many have come to accept and answer with a positive head nod. One that says that we don’t have to go along with what’s happening in our political world simply because we are told it’s the only road we have.
Bernie is showing many in this country that the established way is NOT the only way. There are those who want to scare us with images of the hammer and sickle – a liberal and subtle form of modern-day McCarthyism. These scare tactics don’t seem to be resonating with the growing numbers of Sanders followers, though. Just take a look at the enthusiastic crowds that show up at his campaign rallies.
And as for touching the future… it’s no coincidence that entrance polls in the Iowa caucus revealed what many had already seen: 86% of persons between the ages of 17 to 24 voted for Sanders; as did 81% of those between 25 and 29; and 65% of persons between 30 and 39. As reported in a telling article in The New Yorker titled ‘Bernie Sanders just changed the Democratic Party’, “Clinton, by contrast, was largely reliant on the middle-aged and the elderly. Among forty-something voters, she won by five percentage points. Among the over-fifties, she won by more than twenty per cent.”
No wonder establishment types are worried about what’s around the corner.
As both Democrats and Republicans see it, Sanders has become a threat to what our new America is. A place where big money rules and bailing out billionaires on Wall Street is more important than helping out a child in need, a crumbling school, a collapsing national infrastructure or even workers with two and three jobs who can’t make ends meet. Because as we’ve been led to believe, those billionaires and their cheating businesses are too big to fail.
“It is just too late for establishment politics and establishment economics,” Sanders told the crowd waiting late into the night to hear him after the Iowa decision. “We do not represent the interests of the billionaire class, Wall Street, or corporate America.”
One last thought that stands out in The New Yorker piece I cite above: “Speaking on CNN … David Axelrod, President Obama’s former campaign manager, made an acute point. One of Hillary’s problems is that her campaign is largely about her—her experience, her electability, and her toughness. ‘I will keep doing what I have done my entire life,’ she said in her non-victory speech. ‘I will keep standing up for you. I will keep fighting for you.’ Sanders, on the other hand, rarely mentions himself in his speeches. His campaign is all about his message of taking America back from the billionaires. And, as Axelrod pointed out, it is often easier to inspire people, particularly young people, with an uplifting theme than with a résumé.”
I fall in the age group that voted for Hillary in Iowa. But next month, when the Florida primaries roll around, I plan to cast my vote for Bernie. I am one of those who is tired of listening to people who tell me that if we want to change things we have to play by THEIR rules.