Monday, May 23, 2016

Delusional Thinking

by Paula Sayles, March 25, 2016 

Establishment Democrats are prematurely calling for Bernie Sanders to step out of the race and for his supporters to line up for Hillary.  The Democratic Party is delusional if it thinks that the people who are supporting Sanders will just come happily into the corporate Democrat fold and vote for Hillary.  Sanders supporters have many reasons not to support Hillary and the Democratic Party.

Many Sanders supporters felt abandoned by the Democratic Party since the Clintons steered it away from its support of the working class back in the nineties.  The party and both Clintons have enjoyed the support of unions, but have not done much to repay that support.  The radical trade agreements that continue to force American workers into a global race to the bottom of wages and quality of life have been supported, advanced and passed by establishment Democrats and both Clintons. 

Sanders supporters share strong progressive values evident in policies that support social safety net programs and healthcare for all.  Many feel strongly that the Democratic Party has abandoned these values and is no longer focused on The People.  These values are not evident to Sanders supporters anywhere in Hillary’s record or in her current policies.  If they had been, his supporters would have been supporting her instead of him.  Yet, the party seems to think that Sanders supporters will just put aside the very values and policies that have attracted first-time voters and long-time non-voters into the Sanders movement in order to vote for Hillary. 

As much as she has tried to copy Bernie's platform, Hillary’s policy platform is not the same as Bernie's. She has stated as much when she has repeatedly said that his plans are unrealistic.  If her policy platform were the same as his, she would be condemning her own platform with that statement. 

She won't work toward single payer healthcare.  She famously said, “Single Payer Healthcare will never, ever happen.”BUT, after that went over like a lead balloon, she then said that she is working toward single payer in the long term.  Remember that Obama said he would support it, too, and he could have; but he didn't. This is because Clinton and Obama are both political centrists that practice incrementalism.  Clinton promises baby steps when so many in this country are living on the edge.  The people of this country have patiently waited for the baby steps to provide some relief and they can wait no longer.  If anything is unrealistic, it is the belief that Sanders supporters will just settle for an ACA expansion when they believe that we can have the cost savings and eventual cost controls that come with single payer.

Hillary won't break up the big banks; she says that it isn't necessary and pretends that her Wall Street platform is more "comprehensive." But that is only true if, by comprehensive, you mean detailed and bureaucratic.Her plan basically leaves oversight in the hands of Wall Street, where it has been all this time and relies on fines to keep the boys in line. When have fines ever deterred anyone on Wall Street?  Breaking up the banking cartel is a major part of the reason so many support Sanders.  Though establishment Democrats have spread the myth that only Millennials support him, many Sanders supporters have actually lived long enough to remember how Glass-Steagall served as a leash and collar to regulate the banking and investment industries in a way that served the best interest of the majority in our economy.  They are also old enough to remember when government did not allow the kind of monopolies that have destroyed small business in our country. Knowing that Clinton won’t break up the banks or monopolies that have a stranglehold on our economy, and that this a central part of Bernie’s platform, why does the Democratic Party believe that Sanders supporters are just going to shrug it off?

The establishment Democrat line of thinking doesn’t take into consideration that the times have changed.  Though people used to line up to hold their nose and vote for the lesser evil, too much has changed in the past ten years and the voting public is unwilling to do that in this current climate.  The establishment does not have its finger on the pulse of this country and has not kept up with the times.  Many of the policies and values that are woven throughout the Sanders platform are overwhelmingly popular with a majority of the voting public, and Clinton has put herself on the record stating that they are unrealistic and unreasonable.  She made herself the candidate of “No, we can’t.”  The Democratic establishment thinks Sanders supporters will just forget about that?

The establishment keeps telling us that there is not much difference between Bernie’s platform and Hillary’s platform.  Sanders supporters are uber-aware of the facts and they know that is just not true.  This is viewed as an insult to their intelligence and knowledge. 

The establishment keeps saying that Bernie Sanders is not electable.  The massive numbers of people who come to his speaking events, the increased voter turnout at caucuses and primaries around the country do not support that talking point.

Finally, there is the fact that Hillary supporters have been rude, condescending, and bullying in their behavior toward Sanders supporters throughout the campaign.  Beginning with the announcement of his candidacy, any support for Sanders has been immediately been met with patronizing arrogance by Hillary’s supporters.  “But you will vote for Hillary in the general, right?”  As if Bernie never had a chance to win the nomination.  The questioning quickly grew into harassment with Hillary trolls invading Sanders Facebook pages demanding Sanders supporters pledge fealty for their candidate in November.  And then the media machine began to smear Sanders and his supporters as sexist, then racist.  Somehow, the elitism, arrogance and bullying by Hillary supporters was turned against Sanders supporters through the myth of the “BernieBro” and by lumping them in with Trump supporters.  Smears, dirty tricks and media manipulations are not the best way to win friends and/or influence enemies.  Why would the Democratic party establishment believe that Sanders supporters would be so anxious to jump on the Hillary bus with those types of people on board?

Establishment Democrats can delude themselves into believing that Bernie’s supporters will hold their noses and vote for Hillary if it comes down to it, but that doesn't mean it will happen.  It appears to be more likely that it won’t, despite their dangling of the Trump boogeyman. 

Sanders supporters have glimpsed a possible future wherein they would have the healthcare, education and economy that they need; where campaign finance reform would put control of the government back in the hands of the people where it belongs; and where global climate change would be immediately given the priority necessary to properly address the problem, among other things.  Once you’ve seen something, you can’t unsee it. 

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